THE BIBLE teaches that there are three Pentecosts – consisting of three classes, and covering three different Ages – and that the first one typifies the other two.
First Pentecost – Jews in the Jewish Age
Pentecost was the second of the three annual festivals that the Jews were commanded to celebrate, the first being the Passover, and the third the Feast of Tabernacles. The people would travel to Jerusalem to celebrate each one of the three festivals. Pentecost, which signifies fiftieth, is also referred to as the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of the Firstfruits and Whitsuntide, and is described in Leviticus 23: 15-21.
The Day of Pentecost was a jubilee day, following a cycle of seven times seven days from the time of gathering the sheaf of firstfruits on Nisan 16. It was celebrated by the Jews as a sabbath-rest from their labors, and a feast of joy and thanksgiving upon the completion of the harvest season. The Lord was recognized as the source of the rain and fertility of the soil that made the harvest possible, and the people would bring their firstfruits as offerings to the Lord. Two large loaves, made of fine flour from the new wheat and baked with leaven, were waved before the Lord by the anointed priests. But there were also meat and drink offerings, and a kid of the goats for a sin-offering and two lambs for a peace-offering, which were waved (Leviticus 23: 18-20). The feast was concluded by eating a communal meal, in which the poor, the stranger and the Levites were all invited to partake.
Second Pentecost – Church in the Gospel Age
Let us now consider the first antitypical Pentecost. The Day of Pentecost in 33 A.D., following our Lord’s death, resurrection and ascension, is the most notable day in the history of the Church, for it marks the beginning of the Church.
During the three and a half years of our Lord’s earthly ministry the Apostles and the Seventy were given power to perform miracles, but it was only a delegated power. They were still under Adamic condemnation, and were not recognized by God as His sons. But after our Lord ascended into heaven and appeared in the presence of God, He offered to Divine Justice the sin offering of His perfect human nature, pictured by a bullock (Leviticus 16: 11-14), on behalf of the Church (Hebrews 9: 24). Upon the Heavenly Father’s acceptance of His perfect sacrifice, He proceeded to give His spirit of adoption to the Church on the Day of Pentecost, which manifested His recognition of the members of the Church as His sons (John 14: 16, 17) (Luke 24: 49).
Acts 2: 1-4 provides the account of the disciples receiving the holy spirit, and is the fulfillment of Joel 2: 29. Note in v. 2 that there was not a mighty wind, but a sound resembling a mighty wind. In v. 3 the Greek renders “cloven tongues like as of fire” as tongues of fire or blaze of light. Apparently, a large flame split into smaller flames, and each one of the smaller flames rested upon the head of one of the eleven Apostles. V. 4 indicates that every believer was electrified as they were filled with the holy spirit, and the Apostles began speaking in foreign tongues, so that everyone could receive their message in their own language. The joy and excitement spread and attracted the curiosity of the people who gathered to hear the Gospel, which resulted in three thousand being added to the Church that day (Acts 2: 41).
Second Pentecost Antitypes
We mentioned that Nisan 16 was the day that the first ripe sheaf of the firstfruits was offered to the Lord. Our Lord’s resurrection occurred on Nisan 16, so how appropriate that He types the first ripe Sheaf of the Firstfruits offered unto the Lord.
The two firstfruit loaves that were waved before the Lord type the two spirit begotten classes that were developed during the Gospel Age – the Little Flock and the Great Company. Leaven symbolizes sin, so the fact that the two loaves were made with leaven indicates that the flesh of the members of these two classes was sinful. These are the same two classes spoken of in Joel 2: 29 – the “servants” being the Little Flock and the “handmaids” the Great Company. The joy and thanksgiving on the Day of Pentecost type the blessed privileges and experiences of these two classes in the spirit begotten condition, and in the spirit born condition – the Little Flock in the throne (Revelation 3: 21), and the Great Company before the throne (Revelation 7: 15).
Third Pentecost – World in the Millennial Age
Let us now consider the second antitypical Pentecost (Joel 2: 28). At the end of the Time of Trouble, our Lord will appear in the presence of God again, and offer to Divine Justice the sin offering of His Church, pictured by the Lord’s goat (Leviticus 16: 15), on behalf of the world. The Heavenly Father will accept the sacrifice, and proceed to pour out His spirit for all men, which will manifest His acceptance of the sacrifice.
The world will be in the hands of the Christ class for their reformation and restoration to the image and likeness of God that was lost by Father Adam’s transgression. Satan’s influence, including deception, error, ignorance and superstition will be removed, and the world will come under the influence of the spirit of truth, righteousness and love. Instead of outside influences putting pressure upon men’s hearts, to fill them with anger, malice, hatred, strife and selfishness, the spirit of righteousness, goodness, mercy and love will abound. The world will be given: (1) enlightenment as to the Truth; (2) help, assistance and strength to overcome their fallen flesh; and (3) instruction and guidance designed to lead them back to the image and likeness of their Creator. Even though God’s spirit will be poured out for all flesh, each individual will need to consecrate their lives to God and appropriate the Truth that will be offered to them in order to gain eternal life. The Scriptures indicate that some will go into the Second Death (Acts 3: 23).
The world will not receive the begetting of the spirit to the spirit nature. Instead, the holy spirit will enable them to come into harmony with Christ eventuating in restitution to human perfection; and the favor, blessings and progress up the Highway of Holiness will be in proportion to the degree of their obedience. Furthermore, whereas the Church suffered persecution and opposition, during Christ’s Kingdom no persecution will be permitted. Ezekiel 11: 19 describes that day: “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh.”
“Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” The “sons” refer to the quasi-elect Jews and Gentiles and the “daughters” to the non-elect. Under the leadership of the Ancient and Youthful Worthies these “sons” and “daughters” will preach the Truth and convert the world.
The “Old Men” and “Young Men”
“Your old men shall dream dreams.” These are the Ancient Worthies, God’s consecrated representatives, servants and witnesses before Christ’s First Advent. God used some of them to write the books of the Old Testament, and many of them acted as types of various persons and classes. They will experience the “better resurrection,” by being raised from the dead as perfect human beings, though they will still need to perfect their characters. These will form the executive branch of God’s Kingdom, and act as the princes, judges and teachers of the world. The “dreams” refer to the deeper features of the new Divine revelations that the Lord will give them, which they in turn will reveal to the world. At the end of the Little Season following the Millennial Age Kingdom, the Ancient Worthies will be rewarded with a spiritual nature below the Divine nature.
“Your young men shall see visions.” These are the Youthful Worthies, God’s consecrated servants, who have been developing since the High Calling of the Church ended in 1914. They will also experience the “better resurrection,” and will act as the special assistants to the Ancient Worthies during Christ’s Mediatorial Reign. The “visions” that the Lord will give them refer to the simpler features of the new Divine revelations. The Youthful Worthies will also be rewarded with a spiritual nature following the Little Season.