Pentecost marked the giving of the Holy Spirit and the founding of the Church. What does this harvest festival show about God’s plan of salvation?
Jesus’ crucifixion on Passover was a pivotal event in history. And just over seven weeks later, another watershed event occurred on the Feast of Pentecost.
Pentecost of promise
“When the Day of Pentecost had 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 the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4; for more about the miracle of speaking in tongues, see the article “What Is Speaking in Tongues?”).
During His ministry, Jesus Christ had told His disciples about the power of His Holy Spirit that they would need and would receive. By faithfully obeying God’s command to gather on His feasts, they were ready to receive this miracle.
God used the accompanying miracles to draw a large crowd to hear Peter preach a powerful sermon:
“‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’
“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. …’
“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:36-38, 41).
The power of the Spirit
Even after deciding to repent and turn from sin, we find we need additional help. And that help comes through the Holy Spirit.
It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that our minds can be renewed and our lives transformed.It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that our minds can be renewed and our lives transformed (Romans 12:2). The Holy Spirit allows the perfect laws of God to be written in our hearts and minds (Hebrews 8:10).
The “love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). Later in the letter to the Romans Paul showed that this love fulfills all the commandments, since the 10 Commandments actually define how to love our neighbors and love God as He wants to be loved (Romans 13:8-10).
Who is being called to the Church now?
Even though God called 3,000 to the Church of God on its first day, the growth hasn’t always been that fast. In fact, God says the Church is just a little flock and a group of firstfruits of His harvest (Luke 12:32; James 1:18).
Only those God the Father calls can become part of His Church now (John 6:44). But that doesn’t mean that the vast majority of humanity is lost forever. As we will see, God has a plan to call every person at the time that is best for that person.
What is the Church’s role in the plan of salvation?
Members called to God’s Church now are not just called to receive salvation for themselves. The Church of God has a job to do, to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God and help members prepare to serve in that Kingdom (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20).
So Church members are not only firstfruits of the Kingdom, but workers preparing for the great fall harvest season. The fourth step in God’s plan is represented by the Feast of Trumpets.