Fundamentals Of True Christianity: Lesson 13
Sermons for this lesson:
2009 (Sermon 0239): Pentecost: Firstfruits Of The Spirit
2008 (Sermon 0180): Pentecost: The People of God
2007 (Sermon 0121): Pentecost, A Day Of Reckoning
2006 (Sermon 0065): Christ's Pentecost
2005 (Sermon 0006): Pentecost
Feast of First Fruits, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Harvest, Pentecost
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with The Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues [see Speaking In Tongues], as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4 KJV)
The event in the above verses describes what has commonly become known as the "birthday of the church" - the coming of the Holy Spirit, after the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, on a much more widely available basis than it had been in the Old Testament era.
Pentecost originated after the Exodus when it was variously called the Feast of First Fruits, the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of Harvest (Leviticus 23:15-21, Deuteronomy 16:9-12). It was observed 50 days after the ceremonial cutting of the first grain offering after the Passover - hence the origin of the Greek word Pentecost, which means "fiftieth." By no coincidence, the New Testament Pentecost, as we read in the opening verses, occurred 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the "first of the first fruits."
All of the Biblical Holy Days served a dual purpose, the earlier as symbols for what was to come later. Their observance, and fulfillment, occupy much of Bible History and Prophecy:
The Dual Meaning Of The God-Commanded Biblical Holy Days
The spring Holy Days symbolize the events related to the First Coming of Jesus Christ:
- The Christian Passover - The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ to pay for the sins of all humanity (Exodus 12:13, John 1:29).
- The Christian Feast Of Unleavened Bread - the removal of sin from the lives of converted, repentant people (Exodus 12:15, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8)
- The Christian Pentecost - the "first fruits" harvest, the coming of God's Holy Spirit upon
conversion (Leviticus 23:16-17, Acts 2:1-4).
The autumn Holy Days symbolize the events related to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
- The Christian Feast of Trumpets - The Return of Jesus Christ (Leviticus 23:23-25, Matthew 24:30-31).
- The Christian Day Of Atonement - the final judgment and sentencing of Satan after his removal as "the god of this world." (Leviticus 23:26-32,
- The Christian Feast of Tabernacles - the first 1,000 years after The Return of Christ in which the harvest of salvation will truly begin. (Leviticus 23:33-36, Revelation 20:2-4)
- The Christian Eighth Day - the 8th day of the Feast of Tabernacles picturing the resurrection of all those who did not have an opportunity to hear (physically and/or spiritually) the Gospel in all the ages prior to the millennium (Leviticus 23:39, Revelation
The "First Harvest" Of Salvation
The Old Testament festival of First Fruits celebrated the first harvest of the grain crop, while it actually symbolized the New Testament "first harvest" of humanity, the "first fruits of salvation":
"And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption [see Spiritual Adoption], to wit, the redemption of our body." (Romans 8:23 KJV)
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." (1 Corinthians 15:20-23 KJV) (see also When Will You Be Judged?)
The first fruits were chosen for a purpose, not as any sort of favoritism. They will serve and teach, not just the unconverted physical people who will be alive at the Return of Christ, but those of the great resurrection (which will be vastly larger than the first) that will occur after the 1,000 years:
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:6 KJV)
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" (Revelation 20:5 KJV)
The Holy Bible, from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation, speaks of God's Plan of Salvation - a plan with a definite element of timing. The simple reality, as expressed so often through your Bible, is that not everyone is called to repentance, is able to repent even when they hear the words of the Gospel, at the same time. There is a definite order of calling, which is the reason that Jesus Christ often used the term "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 11:15 KJV).
Fact Finder: Did James refer to the "first wave" of Christians as the "first fruits of creation"?