Starting with the day of the wave-sheaf offering, God’s people are to count 50 days, then observe Pentecost as a day holy to God (Leviticus 23:15-16 Leviticus 23:15-16 15 And you shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
16 Even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD.
American King James Version×).
The theme of freedom from captivity also continues in the wave-sheaf offering and the Feast of Pentecost.
Pentecost symbolizes major events in God’s plan for mankind, including the granting of His Spirit to mankind and the beginning of the Church of God through Spirit-led Christians (see “The Lesson of the Feast of Firstfruits “). As recorded for us in Acts 2, both of these events took place on the first Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection.
Every fiftieth year was called the Jubilee (Leviticus 25:28 Leviticus 25:28But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that has bought it until the year of jubilee: and in the jubilee it shall go out, and he shall return to his possession.
American King James Version×), also called the year of liberty (Ezekiel 46:17 Ezekiel 46:17But if he give a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants, then it shall be his to the year of liberty; after it shall return to the prince: but his inheritance shall be his sons’ for them.
American King James Version×). Every 50 years, at the Jubilee, properties reverted to their original owners (Leviticus 25:8-38 Leviticus 25:8-38 8 And you shall number seven sabbaths of years to you, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty and nine years. 9 Then shall you cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. 10 And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every man to his possession, and you shall return every man to his family. 11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be to you: you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of your vine undressed. 12 For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. 13 In the year of this jubilee you shall return every man to his possession. 14 And if you sell ought to your neighbor, or buy ought of your neighbor’s hand, you shall not oppress one another: 15 According to the number of years after the jubilee you shall buy of your neighbor, and according to the number of years of the fruits he shall sell to you: 16 According to the multitude of years you shall increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years you shall diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits does he sell to you. 17 You shall not therefore oppress one another; but you shall fear your God: for I am the LORD your God. 18 Why you shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and you shall dwell in the land in safety. 19 And the land shall yield her fruit, and you shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. 20 And if you shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: 21 Then I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. 22 And you shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in you shall eat of the old store. 23 The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine, for you are strangers and sojourners with me. 24 And in all the land of your possession you shall grant a redemption for the land. 25 If your brother be waxen poor, and has sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. 26 And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it; 27 Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the remainder to the man to whom he sold it; that he may return to his possession. 28 But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that has bought it until the year of jubilee: and in the jubilee it shall go out, and he shall return to his possession. 29 And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year may he redeem it. 30 And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubilee. 31 But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be counted as the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubilee. 32 Notwithstanding the cities of the Levites, and the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Levites redeem at any time. 33 And if a man purchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, shall go out in the year of jubilee: for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel. 34 But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession. 35 And if your brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with you; then you shall relieve him: yes, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with you. 36 Take you no usury of him, or increase: but fear your God; that your brother may live with you. 37 You shall not give him your money on usury, nor lend him your victuals for increase. 38 I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.
American King James Version×). This prevented poverty from plaguing successive generations of the same families. The Jubilee was celebrated as a time of liberty and freedom (Leviticus 25:10 Leviticus 25:10And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee to you; and you shall return every man to his possession, and you shall return every man to his family.
American King James Version×).
The number 50 implies complete freedom from captivity, a theme frequently found in God’s festivals and Holy Days. Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread marked ancient Israel’s freedom from Egyptian slavery, as well as our freedom from sin and death through Jesus Christ. The theme of freedom from captivity also continues in the wave-sheaf offering and the Feast of Pentecost.
The meanings of Jubilee (50 years) and Pentecost (50 days) are designed to illustrate similar blessings. God marvelously reveals His awesome plan of salvation for all humanity through symbolism such as ceremonies, harvests and holy festival seasons, and understanding of that plan is available to those who keep the Holy Days God commanded.