God’s holy days are a beautiful annual reminder of His plan for mankind, detailing the steps He is taking to bring all of humanity into His family.  And perhaps nowhere is that more explicit than in the Feast of Weeks, or Day of Pentecost.

Let’s quickly rehearse what we know about the Feast of Weeks, to set the stage.  Most of these references are from Leviticus 23, and this study on the wave sheaf and wave loaves may be helpful if this is new ground for you.

  • It was the conclusion of the spring harvest season, which began during the Days of Unleavened Bread with the wave sheaf offering.
  • To get to Pentecost, we count 50 days from when the “wave sheaf” was offered, picturing the resurrected Jesus Christ ascending to the Father to be accepted.
  • It was on Pentecost in 31 AD, 50 days after the resurrected Jesus ascended to the Father to be accepted, that the holy spirit was given to the church (Acts. 2:1-4; John 20:17, 27).
  • Two leavened loaves were offered and elevated on Pentecost, comprised of grain gathered throughout the harvest. They are “firstfruits to the Lord” and are “holy to the Lord for the (High) Priest”.

Most of the messages I’ve heard about Pentecost tend to focus on the historical event of the church receiving the holy spirit, the founding of the church, and how we can use the holy spirit in our lives.

That’s all great and important.  However, I believe that the bible very clearly outlines a much greater future fulfillment that brings the spring (firstfruits) harvest season to a close—when the saints are resurrected, changed to immortal spirit beings, and brought before God’s throne for the marriage supper of the Lamb.  In other words, the two “wave loaves” being elevated before God, holy and acceptable.

With the holy day calendar being very late this year (2024), the Feast of Weeks very unusually falls on Father’s Day.  This coincidence provides a perfect opportunity to explore one of the themes of the holy day perfectly—the time when our Father in heaven will bring many sons and daughters to glory.

In our society today, there are two ways you can become a legal family member if you’re not born into that specific family—adoption and marriage.  I believe the Feast of Pentecost pictures both of these for God’s elect (including the marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19).

But I want to focus in this study on our heavenly Father’s plan to bring us into His family as sons and daughters.  With the giving of the holy spirit, we celebrate the promise of being adopted into the family of God and receiving our future inheritance…and it’s worth exploring what that really means.

The holy spirit is the “down payment” on our inheritance

The night before His crucifixion, Jesus comforted His disciples by telling them, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper…the spirit of truth…I will not leave you orphans” (John 14:16-18).

Just over seven weeks later, on the Day of Pentecost, a small group of disciples gathered in Jerusalem as He had instructed them, and they received the promised holy spirit (Acts 1:4).  Paul begins to deepen our understanding of this event:

“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance…in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the holy spirit of promise, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Eph. 1:11-14).

Adoption confers a number of legal benefits, including a right to inheritance.  Paul says that God gave us the holy spirit as a promise—like a down payment or promissory note that will be redeemed for our future inheritance.  In other words, when the adoption “goes through”.

Who does this apply to?  Paul tells the Galatians that “we are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…and if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:26, 29).

And this is that promise:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible [imperishable] and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Pet. 1:3-5)

Just what does it mean to be a son or daughter in the God family—what, exactly, is that inheritance?

Related study:  The Year of Jubilee & Pentecost — Inheritance & Freedom

What it means to be adopted by our heavenly Father

In our society, when someone is legally adopted they gain the exact same rights as any biological child would have, including the family’s name, a home, and inheritance rights.  They are seen under the law as exactly the same and equal with a family’s natural-born children.

There is also great emotional significance when a child is adopted.  It means that they are being fully and eternally accepted into someone else’s family.  There’s a security and trust that comes with that complete belonging—any foster child who has been adopted could tell you that there’s a world of difference between living with a family and actually becoming part of it.

And these same benefits apply to us as future adopted children in the God family.  A father’s job is to provide for his family’s physical and emotional needs.  To love his children, teach them, and sometimes discipline them.

Our heavenly Father is no different.  He provides for all our needs and teaches us to discern right from wrong.  He loves us, cares for us, and knows every hair on our heads.

Here are just a few of the amazing blessings and rights that we gain when we are adopted into God’s family:

A new nature – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away…all things have become new” (II Cor. 5:17)

A new name – “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God…I will write on him the name of God…and I will write on him My new name” (Rev. 3:12)

An eternal home – “In My Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may also be” (John 14:2-3)

A relationship with our Father – “For through Him (Christ) we both have access by one spirit to the Father.  Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow…members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:18)

Fatherly love – “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (I John 3:1)

An elder Brother – We’re told that God is “bringing many sons to glory”, and “so now Jesus and the ones He makes holy have the same Father.  That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them His brothers and sisters” (Heb. 2:11, NLT)

Help when we go to Him in prayer – “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:8)

We gain not only benefits as part of the family, but also expectations as well.  Like our earthly fathers, God expects us to obey Him.  Peter tells us that we should be “obedient children…as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (I Pet. 1:14-15).

He also corrects and disciplines us.  In Proverbs we’re told, “Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves, He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Prov. 3:11-12).

Our Father also wants us to reflect the family’s values.  God IS holy.  He IS love.  I guess you could say they’re part of the DNA of the God family…identifying traits, just like eye color or the shape of your nose.  And to fit in with our future family, we must also begin to reflect these qualities.

This is what it means to be “born again”.  We must be being transformed inwardly in this life (Rom. 12:2), to match the outward transformation that will mark our entrance into God’s family (I Cor. 15:35-42).

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (I John 3:1-3)

A deep personal relationship with our heavenly “Dad”

On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed to the Father in anguish, calling Him “Abba, Father” (Mark 14:36).  The translators leave the original word because it doesn’t have a direct translation.  It’s an intimate term indicating a close personal relationship…kind of how we’d say “Daddy”.

But it’s not only Jesus Christ who has a right to this close relationship with the Father.  OUR hearts should also reach out to Him in this way:

“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’  Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Gal. 4:1-7)

Do we view God as our dad?  Not as only a distant all-powerful figure, but a real, warm, loving close-up one?

For some people that is a comparison that really hits home, and for others who maybe didn’t grow up with a loving dad, the idea feels completely foreign.  As a kid with your dad, you crawl up in his lap and ask for a bedtime story.  You run to him when you’re scared.  You lift up your arms to him asking to be picked up.  You talk to him, hug him, spend time riding the lawn mower with him (or whatever).  He’s proud of you and you never want to disappoint him.  What would it be like if we viewed our heavenly Father this way?!

We have a mind-blowing promise before us, if we stay faithful to God:

“For as many as are led by the spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’. 

The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…we also who have the firstfruits of the spirit [the holy spirit], even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:14-18)

On this both Pentecost and Father’s Day, we can reflect on our Father in heaven’s plan to redeem humanity and adopt all of us into the God family, alongside Jesus Christ.

Do we truly comprehend and claim the benefits and rights that we have as a beloved child of God and heir to the kingdom?  Whose child are you, and to what family do you belong?

The future and final fulfillment of this day will be when God’s elect—obedient to His laws, redeemed from sin through grace, and having His holy spirit—are brought before His throne as newly-resurrected eternal children of God.

“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads [members of the family of God]

These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.  These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb…they are without fault before the throne of God” (Rev. 14:1-5)

“And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4)

Imagine what a Father’s Day that will be!

What does "Abba,Father" mean? The Feast of Pentecost, Inheritance, & Adoption into the Family of God | Feast of Weeks study & Romans 8:14-18, spiritual adoption & inheritance in the bible, what it means to be sons & daughters of God.

What does "Abba,Father" mean? The Feast of Pentecost, Inheritance, & Adoption into the Family of God | Feast of Weeks study & Romans 8:14-18, spiritual adoption & inheritance in the bible, what it means to be sons & daughters of God.

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