“Hide and Seek” is a popular children’s game that has been played for decades. Several children hide while one goes out seeking where the others are hidden. Endless hours of summer fun have been spent playing this game. Yet, prior to the time when one child goes out seeking, that same child must close his eyes and fulfill a count. During this period of time when one child is counting, the other children go and hide. Usually, the child counts from one to ten. After reaching ten, the child proclaims loudly, “Ready or not, here I come!” A simple count, followed by an action. The simplicity of a count in a children’s game is a profound example for Christian adults who are trying to live according to God’s Word, the Bible. But, what is seemingly simple for children is often unnecessarily turned into something far more complex by adults. Rather than taking a childlike approach to a subject, adults often have a way of wrangling, reasoning, resisting and convoluting a subject. The end result is often confusion or one person who quizzically exclaims after awhile, “What was the question?”
With regard to counting, two timely and pertinent examples can be given. Many have just finished observing the Days of Unleavened Bread. How many days were observed? Two? Four? Six? The Bible is explicitly clear in that the Days of Unleavened Bread are to be observed for a period of seven days. The first day is an annual Sabbath day, as well as the seventh day. During this period of time, no leavened products may be eaten. From the first day, all the way up to and including the seventh day, leavened products are prohibited. Does this mean that, midway through the seventh day, or as the seventh day is coming to an end, leavening may again be eaten? Such is not the case. The period of time must be complete before leavening may once again be reintroduced into one’s diet. In other words, the child’s count referenced above would be from one to seven, followed by – ready or not – being able to eat leavening again.
The second example concerns Jesus Christ, His crucifixion, time in the tomb, and subsequent resurrection. More than a billion people have just recently taken part in Good Friday and Easter Sunday festivities. The vast majority most likely observe these days for one simple reason – because their parents did it. And so did their parents. Others observe these days because the church they attend promotes adherence to these days. Still others observe these days purely for secular reasons. All of them seem to reason that it really doesn’t matter if one goes on an Easter egg hunt – it’s all in good fun! But what is lost in family and church tradition, and what is seemingly glossed over, is the answer to a simple question. How are you able to count three days and three nights from Good Friday to Easter Sunday? According to the Scriptures, the sign that Jesus gave to His disciples as undeniable proof that he was indeed the Messiah was that He would be dead and in the tomb for three days and three nights prior to His miraculous resurrection. In other words, He would be in the tomb for a period of three twenty-four hour periods of time – three complete days. No matter how hard you try, you cannot reconcile this requirement with the Good Friday and Easter Sunday tradition. On the other hand, many are becoming increasingly aware that a Wednesday crucifixion and a Saturday resurrection of Jesus Christ are much more Biblically and historically accurate. The crucifixion occurred on Wednesday and the interment just before sundown on that day. The resurrection occurred just before sundown on Saturday. In this case, the child’s count would be from one to three, followed by – ready or not – Jesus Christ’s resurrection.
This brings us to the question at hand. As previously mentioned, many of us have just finished observing the Days of Unleavened Bread. The next holy day on the agenda is the Feast of Firstfruits, also known as the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot, or Pentecost. Unlike the other holy days listed in the Bible, which according to the Hebrew calendar, occur on a fixed day of the month every year, the correct day to observe Pentecost must be counted out every year. Of course, there is nothing inherently holy about the count. It is the day that occurs upon completion of the count that is holy, sanctified, and set apart. Just like only one day in seven can be sanctified as the weekly Sabbath, only one day each year can be sanctified as an annual holy day. Pentecost is no exception, and when it comes to Pentecost, the Bible says to count fifty complete days, and then – ready or not – observe the holy day. Nowhere does the Bible state to keep Pentecost on the fiftieth day.
Are you completely fulfilling the count? Will you be ready, or not?