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Written by Bill Bradford
Today many will gather together to worship on the Day of Pentecost or the Day of the Firstfruits. I plan to celebrate this momentous occasion with my family and the brethren of the Brisbane congregation.
Firstfruits (or Pentecost, as it is named in the New Testament) is a Feast of one day, but signifying a very important part of God’s plan. It is the second of three feasts, to be kept in their seasons. The seasons of the year corresponds with the harvests in Israel. The first harvest began during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and continued until Pentecost. Pentecost or Firstfruits completed the first harvest, then, in the end of the (harvest) year, there was the Feast of Ingathering (Tabernacles, and the Holy Days of the seventh month) which was the season they gathered in all the fruits of their labors from the field.
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 labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.
The children of Israel were unaware of the greater meaning of these feasts of the Lord. To them the meaning was the representation of the harvests, and it would remind them of the blessings God would bestow on them in the harvest. This was their life -- to rely on God for these blessings, and to love Him and worship Him because He was the Lord their God in all things ... their progeny, their sustenance, their health, and protection from their enemies.
Jesus spoke of a different kind of harvest. “Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, 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, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors" (John 4:35-38).
This is the harvest of people who will enter His Kingdom as the children of God. The same principles apply to this kind of harvest. Someone has to sow, someone has to labor in the field; someone has to reap.
The first harvest is a smaller harvest than the one to follow. It is a harvest from the fields and in the storehouses before the greater harvest of Ingathering that comes later. These seasons give a structure to how God is offering His salvation to mankind -- in their seasons. Pentecost gives us the opportunity to explore why He is offering salvation in this way. It is an amazing plan and a mystery that few know about.
Is it possible to know what the future holds for us? The Creator of mankind does have a plan for us, and He reveals it to us through an annual cycle of festivals described in the Scriptures. It is an astounding plan offering an incredible future to every man, woman, and child who has ever lived. This booklet will help you understand the incredible truth about what lies ahead for all humanity.
Humanity has been deprived of the keys that unlock a comprehensive understanding of God's plan and purpose for humankind. God reveals His splendid plan in the prophecies and teachings of the Scriptures. In this lesson you will see how God has provided us with the keys to unlock His plan through His sacred festivals.
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It’s obvious that our world is plagued with serious problems. Look around at the devastating wars, civil unrest, violent crime, rampant theft, corrupt governments, grinding poverty, hunger, spreading substance abuse, broken homes and families, natural disasters, failing educational systems and much more. These things aren’t new; they’re the sad legacy of human history. Is there any hope that these problems will ever be solved? Believe it or not, there is indeed great hope, and it’s found in the pages of your Bible. It’s called the gospel, a word that means “good news.” And it truly is good news, the message of Jesus Christ’s coming reign over the earth and God’s divine solution to our problems! Learn much more about this wonderful hope and news in the pages of this issue of Beyond Today. Download this issue in PDF. Individual articles will be posted in the upcoming days.