Readers of The Plain Truth are aware that the calendars that most Christian and Jewish Observers follow are wrong. God's calendar is perfect, and the same holidays fall exactly the same time each year. Today is the 50th day since the Feast of First Fruits (The last day of Passover Week). For Christians, Pentecost is a holiday on which we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the early followers of Jesus. Before the events of the first Pentecost, which came a few weeks after Jesus’ death and resurrection, there were followers of Jesus, but no movement that could be meaningfully called “the church.”
Thus, from an historical point of view, Pentecost is the day on which the church was started. This is also true from a spiritual perspective, since the Spirit brings the church into existence and enlivens it. Thus Pentecost is the church’s birthday.
Pentecost is actually the Christian version of the old Greek and Latin name for the Jewish Festival of Weeks (Hebrew חג השבועות Chag ha-Shavuot) which can be found in the Hebrew Bible. It is called by that name in Exodus 34:22 and Deuteronomy 16:10. It is also called the Festival of Reaping (Hebrew: חג הקציר, Chag ha-Katsir) in Exodus 23:16, and Day of the First Fruits (Hebrew יום הביכורים, Yom ha-Bikkurim) in Numbers 28:26. Jews traditionally read the Book of Ruth at Pentecost, as the story links with the grain harvest theme of the festival.
The biblical narrative of Pentecost is given in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. Present were about one hundred and twenty followers of Christ (Acts 1:15), including the Twelve Apostles (i.e. the Eleven faithful disciples and Matthias who was Judas' replacement) (Acts 1:13, 26), his mother Mary, various other women disciples and his brothers (Acts 1:14).
Their reception of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room is recounted in Acts 2:1–6:
"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 Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language."
Jewish Christianity in Jerusalem.
Many scholars see strong evidence of a connection between the Essenes and the early Christian Church. Pharisees and Sadducees are frequently referred to in the Gospels, but the Essenes are not so easily recognized. One has to look closely to see that they are referred to as "devout men" and appear several times. The aged Simeon in the temple is called a devout man. Acts 2:5 mentions that "there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven." Acts 8:2 tells that "Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation." It was an assembly of "devout" men who recognized the fact that Peter had a message of the Lord. "But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city" (Acts.13.50). Ananias in Antioch was a devout man (Acts 22:12).
The New Testament Church is a special "calling out 'First Fruits' Assembly"
I know many will not like this, but unless you are invited by God, being a member of His Church, you can not join! Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44). The night before Jesus was crucified, He told the Father-God in his prayer, "I have revealed Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world" (John 17:6). Some years later, the Apostle Paul wrote to Church members in Corinth, Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful." (1 Corinthians 1:26–27). James identified those who are called into the Church as the "firstfruits" in the plan of God (James 1:18).
As harsh and shocking as it may sound, Jesus IS NOT trying to save the world today. He is not trying to save most of your friends, neighbors and maybe not even you! This is what Jesus told his disciples, when they asked him about this subject:
MATTHEW 13:10-16. His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”
11He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secretsa of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables,
For they look, but they don’t really see.
They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.
This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,
‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand.
When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would have to heal them.’
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it."
Clearly, this is not the Jesus taught to you in Sunday school. Read what he said about. In simple English he is saying because of the people's sin (breaking the Law) he does not want them to turn to him, because he does not want to now!
God's Church is small, scattered and mostly going to be persecuted and rejected. You can't join, but you can figure out if you have been called by The Father!