Beyond Pentecost

Contributed by Brett Ahern

With Pentecost gone, it’s easy to think God's calendar is empty until the next holiday season. However, the summer harvests are coming up, and scripture points to the production of the fruit of the Spirit as the focus of our lives (Galatians 5:22-25). 

Israel met with God in Jerusalem three times a year (Passover, Pentecost and Sukkot), observing and developing in light of these main salvation events. Passover celebrates our freedom from sin's slavery. Pentecost, the grain harvest, allows us to consume the bread of life so we can live in covenant with God, by the strength of His Spirit. In the fall is Sukkot, when all harvests are complete, foreshadowing the coming kingdom of God at Christ's return.

In my previous article, "God's Passover Heart", we explored the three events that God did at Passover time for Israel, laying the foundation for the New Testament Passover event, Christ's crucifixion. 

Pentecost is a two-sided coin. When Israel left Egypt, God brought them to Mt. Sinai to make His covenant at this time. This is the framework for the NT experience of God pouring out His spirit at Pentecost - the promised new covenant - overcoming the deficiencies of the flesh to keep the covenant through the power of His Spirit, which writes the covenant in our hearts, so we live it from the inside out (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

The other side of the Pentecost coin is agricultural. Passover ended, Israel offered the first fruit of the grain harvest, launching the harvest season, counting out fifty days to the "fullness of Pentecost" offering. The two main grains harvested were barley, the poor man's bread, and wheat, the wealthy man's bread. The barley was ripe before the wheat, so the workflow was from poverty to wealth. The first fruit offering was a handful of stalks. The fullness offering was two loaves of bread. 

Our post-Passover journey is from slavery's poverty to liberty's wealth (Romans 6:3-4). Transitioning from "barely getting by" to "life more abundant" (John 10:10). From a handful of raw provision to overflowing, processed through Jesus' command, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised." (Acts 1:4-8) Then He discussed the baptism of the Holy Spirit and its distinction from water baptism. This promised gift enables disciples to live a life that witnesses to God's full nature, as Jesus did.

The grain harvests are not about the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus pointed out that He is the bread of life, come to us from heaven. To emphasize the importance of this in our lives, He compared Himself to manna, the bread miraculously provided during Israel's wilderness journey (John 6:31-58). We harvest in the gospels, gathering the grains of truth of how His life works; so we can live like Him. His living in humanity's poverty, enslaved to the inability of our flesh, brought humility's fullness, enabling Him to rely on God's spirit, bringing forth the Father's wealth. Counting the fifty days, from poverty to wealth, is the increasing process of making every day of our lives with God count.

Pentecost's gift of the Spirit is the basis for the next phase of God's plan for our lives - producing the fruit of the Spirit. Throughout Israel's various temperate zones a wide variety of fruit harvests occurred in the summer months, mirroring our personal diverse life experiences. 

Over half the Spirit's gifts involve a type of informational revelation (1 Corinthians 12:4-10), bringing out the multi-faceted truth we personally need to produce the Spirit's fruit. This is how we live in God's kingdom now, witnessing to its effectiveness to those in need. We use the gifts with one another to assist each other in producing the Spirit's fruit.

This reliance on the Spirit to empower our lives in divine good works frees us to reach out and pluck the fruit of the Spirit as needed, strengthening our spirit with the specific nourishment needed to walk in the work God has for us. As an example, are you dealing with hate? Reach out, pluck, feast on, internalize and delight in love (Galatians 5:16-25).

This is God's will for our lives until Jesus returns, the Sukkot Holy Day event. This culmination Holy Day, where a tenth of all harvested was brought to Jerusalem for a grand feast, was with extreme joy. Israel delighted greatly in the Lord, for His abundant provision to carry them through to the next harvest cycle. Likewise, we will have all we harvest of Christ's life and the Spirit's fruits to celebrate with and apply in the kingdom, assisting Christ in bringing all nations into God's life (Isaiah 2:1-4, Revelation 20:6).

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