December 2017           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


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Pentecost: Just What IS It?

 Pentecost is NOT a “Jewish” feast day! It doesn’t belong to the Jews, but DOES belong to God! Pentecost is a feast day that God COMMANDS Israel to keep forever!
And the Biblical nation of Israel is made up of TWELVE tribes, not just the tribe of Judah! ALL the tribes of Israel are COMMANDED to observe Pentecost!!!

Leviticus tells us that all the special days listed in Leviticus 23 are GOD’S FEAST DAYS!!! Let us look at it now.

Lev. 23:1 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are MY feasts.”

Then God's seven feast days (Sabbaths) are listed and instructions are given about HOW to observe them. People CAN'T make up their own minds about how to worship God on these days because He COMMANDS them to worship Him in certain ways. Of course, the way God wants us to keep them also gives us a lot of information about His plan for the salvation of man-kind.

I believe the Feast of Pentecost is the second most important feast day that God commands us to observe. I think the first is Passover, of course.

With that in mind ... What does Pentecost mean? Since the observance of Pentecost is commanded in scripture we MUST keep it, but what does it all mean?

Pentecost is teaching us about the return of Christ to this earth and the events which will occur at that time. It is a commanded observance which causes us to remember that people will be resurrected at that time, but who are these people, and how are they tied to Pentecost?

In Lev. 23 we see two wave loaves which are offered at Pentecost along with some other things that I won't get into right now.

Lev. 23: 17 "Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: ... "

Most have probably heard many theories about what these two loaves of bread mean. I have heard many ‘sermons’ from Catholic, Protestant, and Church of God preachers trying to explain what these two loaves represent. They have been called “types” of the Old and New Testament, “representations” of the House of Judah and the House of Israel and probably a lot of others I’ve forgotten.

A problem I have come to see is that people just won’t accept what the scriptures say about something. They all want to think there is some special meaning that only a privileged few can interpret, and most preachers and priests continue to teach that falsehood. Nahhh, let me call that teaching what it is, A LIE!!

People dig for little “nuggets” of truth here and there in the Bible not realizing that it is ALL there if we have “eyes to see.” Of course, I’m talking about spiritual eyes here but it is STILL really SIMPLE when one has God’s Holy Spirit and when one hasn’t been deceived into believing that only a few have been given the “special gifts” of understanding!

The point I’m trying to make is that people create huge stumbling blocks which they then place in their own way, or let someone else place these blocks in their way, looking to MEN for understanding rather than to Jesus the Christ!

The simple fact is these two wave loaves which are offered to God represent, they are symbolic of, those who are dead in Christ and those who are alive in Christ at His return.

As the scripture says, they are the FIRSTFRUITS unto the Lord!! Go back and read the last part of verse 17.

“ … they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.”

How much plainer does God have to say it to get us to believe it?

The dead in Christ are those who have been given God’s Holy Spirit and have died while waiting on that first resurrection at the second coming of Jesus the Christ.

Of course, they were human beings who still had “leaven” in their character when they died, (there are times in scripture when leaven represents Sin), but they also had God’s Holy Spirit!

Those who are alive in Christ are those human beings who have received God’s Holy Spirit and are still alive while waiting for that first resurrection. We can see that in:

1 Thes. 4:15-17 “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Yes, the dead in Christ ARE STILL DEAD at this time, and they will be resurrected at the coming of Christ to set up His Kingdom on this earth! (Rev. 11:15)

This, of course, is the same time that those who are still living, and who are IN Christ, will be CHANGED into a spiritual body that will never die!

This resurrection is NOT the “rapture” which so many preach about but it is the First Resurrection, at the return of Christ, of those who will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.

There will be NO “secret rapture”! It is not shown in scripture, but instead scripture tells us that “every eye shall see Him.” (Rev. 1:7)

The book of Zechariah chapter 14 shows us that “in that day” Jesus’ feet will stand on the Mount of Olives and majestic things will begin to happen!!

Rev. 14:1-12 shows us some of those who will be WITH Jesus when He stands on that Mount, and verse 12 kind of “nails it down” to those who “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus!

How hard is that to understand?

But I think the question is, or should be, how do all those people get to that point?

How do people reach that point of being resurrected but still have leavened spirits?

Number one, they get there because of God’s GRACE and mercy. And, number two, they get there through Faith in God!!

They get there because they totally believe God and that belief has become a very part of their being!!

I’m afraid that many don’t truly understand just what that faith really is?

I recently listened to a sermon given by a minister who made the statement that God gives everyone faith at their birth.

Yes, we receive faith at birth, but that is HUMAN FAITH. It is a product of our HUMAN SPIRIT!

The faith necessary to be in that First Resurrection is Godly Faith, Holy Faith, given to us when we receive God’s Holy Spirit.

Eph. 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

The minister stated the gift, mentioned here, was “grace”, not faith.

However, if he had remembered his English classes in high school, he would have realized that the word ‘gift’ was pointing back to the word ‘faith’ in the previous phrase, not the word ‘grace’.

Notice, that FAITH is NOT of ourselves. It is NOT human faith! It is GIVEN to us by God through His Spirit!

It would have been much plainer if the translator has put it this way.

“For by grace are you saved through faith: and that faith is not of your spirit: but because of His Grace, that faith is the gift of God through HIS Spirit.”

If we are going to be in that first resurrection, we will get there THROUGH GODLY FAITH!! That FAITH is the product of the Holy Spirit, and it is what keeps us safe and causes us to ACTIVELY BELIEVE God!!

Heb. 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Verse 6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

That kind of faith has substance! It isn’t wishy-washy human faith but something that has POWER causing us to BELIEVE THAT HE IS, and that HE IS A REWARDER.

It is the power to believe (and ACT upon) the PROMISES God has made to us and to all those who have preceded us in the Spirit! That faith is a part of the Spirit which makes us a very PART OF GOD! It is a part of the Spirit that makes us ONE IN HIM AND JESUS CHRIST!!!

John 17: 20 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Yes, that we might be ONE IN THEM!!

And we can only do that THROUGH THE FAITH that God in his Grace and Mercy gives us by His Holy Spirit!!

How is YOUR faith?

Is it strong? Are you able to weather the stormy trials which God will allow to come on you, trials which God allows to test you to see “whether you are in the faith?”

2 Co 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

Certainly I don’t know who the reprobates are, but God tells us to PROVE TO OUR OWN SELVES whether we are in the faith.

He tells us that we KNOW in OUR OWN SELVES that Jesus Christ is IN US!!

How can we know in our own selves that Christ is in us?

Because we have God’s Holy Spirit! And a major part of that Spirit IS FAITH!!! It causes the hope that is within us to be actual SUBSTANCE!! It IS THERE IN US!

If we are in the faith we will be strong, and do Godly exploits!! We won’t be weak, compromising people who waver to and fro. We won’t be like the waves of the sea going in and out with whatever “tide” washes over us!!

We won’t be the way Jude describes some.

Jude 1:13 “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”

How can we have the kind of faith that is so strong that we can weather all the storms that will come to pass?

First we MUST examine ourselves whether we are in the faith.

If there is any doubt, then we must set ourselves a course of study that will prove to us that we ARE in the faith.

Many of us have gotten to the place where we are complacent and when we hear something preached, we either accept it or reject it based upon our memory of biblical facts!

Folks, our memories are FAULTY!!! We are HUMAN!!!

It BEHOOVES us to be IN God’s Word every day checking to see if what we hear is true or not, and to build up a FOUNDATION of TRUTH upon which we live our lives!

It BEHOOVES us to be in God’s Word to STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH!!

Rom. 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Let me make that a little clearer for you if you don’t quite understand it.

“So then Godly Faith cometh by Spiritual hearing, and Spiritual hearing cometh from Jesus, the Word of God!”

And of course, you know that the Bible you have is the printed Word of God, don’t you?

So what else should we do?

2 Tim 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

We MUST study God’s Word in order to rightly UNDERSTAND the Word of Truth, with the very important help of God’s Mind, His Holy Spirit!!

Pray, study, meditate and fast! Be in God’s Word so you can be IN HIM!

And if you do that you will get back to that “faith once delivered unto the Saints!!

What IS that faith once delivered?

It was delivered to them by Jesus while He was WITH those saints.

That faith is, of course, the entire Bible. However, I can only go over a very few of the things which are the foundation of that faith.

I will go over what I think are the most basic building blocks of that faith.

Mat. 5:1 “And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The word ‘poor’ in verse 3 means humble, needy. We NEED God to supply that Spirit and we are looking for the complete fulfillment of God’s promise to provide that complete fulfillment at the first resurrection.

We are humble before Him as we ask for the blessing of that fulfillment.

And notice, it is the kingdom OF heaven, NOT IN HEAVEN!!!

That kingdom, of course, will come to this earth. (Rev. 11)

Mat 5:4 “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”

We are in mourning because of the heaviness of sin, and the tests and trials of this world and it’s society.

But we are comforted by God’s Spirit and the deep faith and knowledge that He will fulfill His promises to us!!

Mat 5:5 “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

Yes, the meek shall inherit the earth at that first resurrection, that fulfillment of the Feast of Pentecost!

And we’ve all heard the explanation that the word ‘meek’ does not mean ‘weak’. We MUST be STRONG in the Spirit! We must be WORKING the works God has given us to do of spreading His Good News to others!

Mat 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

You ARE hungering and thirsting after righteousness, aren’t you?

God has begun that filling process which will be completed at the first resurrection, that ultimate Pentecost.

I’m going to read a few more without comments after each one for the sake of time and article length.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven (that Christ brings with Him when He returns) : for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

He goes on to say that we are the “salt of the earth,” the “light of the world” and that we should let our “light so shine before men that they may see our good works, and GLORIFY our Father which is in heaven!!!”

I feel I need to mention here that a “light” just “shines”. It doesn’t ‘preach.’ That light mentioned here is “good works.”

Everyone should continue to read and study this chapter in the book of Matthew because it contains some tremendous things that most people gloss over, I’m afraid.

Pentecost pictures something else that I wanted to mention in closing.

It is mentioned in Heb. 11 and verse 35.

“Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:”

Yes, Pentecost pictures a BETTER RESURRECTION!

Verse 40 tells us why the First Resurrection is a better resurrection.

“God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”

God has ordained (it means appointed) those who have His Holy Spirit to be in that First Resurrection with all those wonderful people mentioned here in Hebrews 11.

They will be in some FANTASTIC company!

God the Father, Jesus the Christ, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Sampson, Jepthae, David, Samuel and the prophets, and more.

What a marvelous gathering that will be when God’s People reach THAT Pentecost resurrection and can fellowship with all those who have gone on before!!

And just remember, if there is a First Resurrection, is it not logical that there will be a Second?

 

May God strengthen you through His Holy Spirit to have the faith necessary to be in that BETTER RESURRECTION!!

 

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