With the Feast of Pentecost just around the corner, Darris McNeely takes a look through the lens of this biblical festival to see hope in a seemingly hopeless world.
[Darris McNeely] You know, everybody wants to make sense of their life, everyone wants to know why they were born, we look around the world we wonder why do people suffer, and of course, you and I wonder, why do I hurt? Why must I go through what I'm going through?
One of the things that I learned a long time ago from the study of God's Word is God's purpose, his plan as outlined in his festivals, God's Holy Days. And when I began to understand and observe those, from my youth, it opened up a world of meaning that has given me the ability to grasp all of the answers to the questions that I posed to you, why were you born? Why do people suffer? Why evil?
We're coming up to one of the major festivals of God, The Feast of Pentecost. The Feast of Pentecost is a festival that is described both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the priest would cut a sheaf of grain and wave it in a very special ceremony, on a special day in the temple before God as an offering. In the New Testament, we read that the church in Acts chapter 2 begins on the day of Pentecost. We also learn more about the Feast of Pentecost and the fulfillment of that old testament, Wave Sheaf Offering, as it was called, or the priest taking the stock of grain and making an offering out of it. We learn as we read certain passages in the epistles of Paul what this actually opens up an understanding for us.
We look at 1 Corinthians chapter 15. Beginning in verse 22, it says this, "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive, each one in his own order, Christ the firstfruits, afterwards, those who are Christ's at his coming" (1 Corinthians 15:22 1 Corinthians 15:22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
American King James Version×). Every man in his own order, Christ the firstfruits, afterwards those who are Christ's at His coming. We learn from the scriptures about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His ascension to the Father. We read here, in 1 Corinthians 15 about this idea that Christ is the first of the firstfruits. This is where the connection to Pentecost comes in, that Wave Sheaf Offering, that grain that the priest gave, signaled the beginning of the early harvest among the people of God, Israel, in the Old Testament. Christ fulfilled that as the first of the firstfruits. He was accepted through His eternal spiritual sacrifice before God and He becomes the first of the firstfruits. But that thing opens up an understanding as to where we come into the picture, because it is in Christ that all are made alive and have the hope of a resurrection.
As we observe the day of Pentecost, we begin to focus in upon Christ as the Wave Sheaf Offering, the role of the individuals who are called firstfruits in the plan of salvation that God is bringing to pass, a group of people unique in all of history. The Bible has a great deal to say about the firstfruits of God's harvest or plan of salvation, the church, the elect. The people of God who have the Holy Spirit are those who are the firstfruits. That could be you, that can be those who repent and change and receive the gift of God's Holy Spirit as a result of baptism or laying on of hands and an act of faith in accepting this sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
When we begin to put all this together, and as I said at the beginning, understanding by observing God's festivals and especially this day of Pentecost, it brings down the plan of God into my own life in my time, your time, our time, right now, and that is that this is a time of God beginning to work with people as the firstfruits, the beginning harvest of His eternal plan of salvation. It began in Christ and it is continuing to this day through those who God has called. It's a lot to think about, but it begins to help us understand the answers to the questions that I posed of, what is the sense of all this world, this life, why do people suffer, and why do we go through what we have to go through in this world?
There's one more scripture I wanna point you to as we talk about this important festival, it's Romans chapter 8 beginning in verse 18. The Apostle Paul writes about suffering. He says that, "I know that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18 Romans 8:18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
American King James Version×). That glory is the hope of a resurrection. Like the resurrection that Jesus Christ went through, a resurrection to eternal life, that glory is what is the hope that a firstfruit has. He talks about the earnest expectation of the creation that eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. It's the sons of God who are among those firstfruits. "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope." Futility of the world, creation, and at times even the life that we see because of sin is what Paul is talking about here that begins then to be...it makes sense and is put together in a proper way when we begin to understand God's festivals, God's plan of salvation and especially the day of Pentecost.
He says, going on in verse 22, "For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pains until now. Not only that but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we, ourselves groan within ourselves eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body" (Romans 818-22). So the answers to those questions about the why begin to be answered and come to us as we observe God's festivals and this day of Pentecost has a very key message for us to focus on. This may seem new to you, I understand that. It might be something that is rather familiar to others, but if you want to know more, study into what the Bible says about the festivals. And as you do, you will begin to understand something that helps you to understand the very purpose of your life and answer these great questions that all of us have.
That's BT Daily, join us next time.