The day of Pentecost and the Jubilee year share something in common – both involve counting fifty. For Pentecost, the fifty is days (Leviticus 23:16), and the Jubilee is counted in years (Leviticus 25:8).
The Jubilee established a system where ownership of the land could never be permanently taken away from a family. If a person fell on hard times and had to “lease” his land, his possession was to be returned to him in the Jubilee year (Leviticus 25:13).
There are three common elements to both Pentecost and the Jubilee. With each there must be a count; seven Sabbaths of days or years respectively must be completed, and the time on the fiftieth is consecrated to the Father. For Pentecost, the fiftieth is one holy day, and for the Jubilee, it is an entire year.
A key element of the Jubilee rests on the fact that the land belonged to God, and we are strangers and sojourners with God (Leviticus 25:23). A second key element is that the land could be redeemed (verses 24-25). If a person had to sell some of his possessions, the land could be redeemed by a relative, or if he had no relatives, he could redeem it himself (verses 25-26). The land could be returned to its God-given inheritors. God’s desire was that people would be able to return to their possessions (verses 27-28).
Turning to our situation, we also have a Redeemer. The Apostle Peter leans heavily on concepts taken from the book of Leviticus when he wrote to the Church. “Be holy for I am holy [theme of Leviticus]. And if you call on the Father who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear [sojourning, dwelling as resident aliens]: knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:16-19). In Israel, if a person through aimless or negligent conduct lost some of his land – it could be redeemed. We have been redeemed from aimless conduct [empty or vain behavior] by the blood of Christ.
The Jubilee symbolized the time when humanity will be redeemed to the right foundation for life – reliance, and obedience to God.
Pentecost pictures the firstfruits of a redeemed people being prepared for salvation.
As we observe the Day of Pentecost, we need to keep in mind the great plan of redemption for all humanity being worked out on the earth at this time. Counting fifty days to this day is significant.