REMEMBER: This is a Bible STUDY course. It is not just something for you to read quickly. What we have written is only the OUTLINE to help you to STUDY your BIBLE. The one textbook of this course is YOUR BIBLE! Always have your Bible open before you when you sit down to STUDY with this course.
Bible Study Course Lesson 35
Day of Pentecost -- THE CHURCH IN GOD'S MASTER PLAN
Did you know that unless Christ's disciples had been KEEPING the Day of Pentecost THEY WOULDN'T HAVE RECEIVED GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT?
Without God's Spirit NO ONE could ever inherit eternal life! Without God's Spirit you can't even WORSHIP God as you should! John said, "God is a spirit: and they that worship Him MUST WORSHIP HIM IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH!" (John 4:24.)
Absolutely no one can worship God in spirit if he has not the Spirit of God!
God's Holy Spirit came to the disciples for the FIRST TIME on the Day of Pentecost, Monday, June 18, 31 A.D. It changed their lives. IT CAN CHANGE YOURS!
You need to thoroughly understand the importance of the Day of Pentecost -- the day on which Jesus founded the New Testament Church. Pentecost pictures the little-understood THIRD VITAL STEP in God's Master Plan!
Steps in God's Plan Reviewed
God's seven annual festivals outline His Master Plan. Because the world rejects these Holy Days, it has lost the KNOWLEDGE of the PURPOSE for human life. These holy periods of time are not "Jewish." One of the reasons the vast majority of Jews rejected Christ is that they failed to keep the Passover on the right day. And they did not receive the Holy Spirit because they failed to keep Pentecost on the right day!
The PASSOVER is to remind us that JESUS CHRIST paid a tremendous price for our sins. He offered something more valuable than anything we could offer -- the sacrifice of HIS PERFECT HUMAN LIFE!
Because we broke God's law and earned the wages of sin, which is death (Rom. 6:23), Jesus had to DIE IN OUR STEAD. We need the cleansing blood of Christ to pay for our sins. The Passover was given to us as an ANNUAL MEMORIAL SO WE WOULD NEVER FORGET IT. The Passover or communion service is the FIRST STEP in God's Master Plan of salvation!
Next, God reminds us to QUIT SINNING! The DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD picture putting the LEAVEN OF SIN (I Cor. 5:7-8) out of our lives, and beginning to live in complete submission and obedience to God's laws. When we begin to obey God and totally surrender to Him, we take the SECOND STEP in God's plan. But that is not enough! We need the Holy Spirit of God if we are to really obey God and inherit eternal life.
This THIRD STEP in God's plan is pictured for us by the DAY OF PENTECOST, or Feast of Firstfruits.
Christ Promised Spiritual Help
1. Did Jesus Christ promise spiritual help to His disciples? John 14:16. What was the "Comforter" that Christ promised? Verse 26. What else is the Holy Spirit called besides "Comforter"? Verse 17. Was the Holy Spirit dwelling WITH the disciples in the person of Christ? Same verse. But had the disciples received the Holy Spirit dwelling WITHIN them as yet? Same verse.
COMMENT: The Holy Spirit had been WITH the disciples in the person of Christ. But now He was to ascend into Heaven. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to be WITHIN them as it had been in Him! The word, "comforter" is translated from the Greek word, "parakletos" which means, "one who goes alongside to help."
2. Was Jesus' promise to send the Holy Spirit repeated AFTER He had been crucified and resurrected from the dead? Acts 1:8-9.
3. Did Christ tell the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received God's Spirit? Luke 24:49.
COMMENT: The word, "tarry" does not refer to an ecstatic, emotional, pseudo-religious meeting held in Jerusalem as some deluded people believe, but merely means "wait." It is an archaic English word which was used in 1611, when the King James Bible was translated, to mean "wait."
4. When did the disciples actually receive the gift of God's Holy Spirit? Acts 2:1-4. On what DAY did the Holy Spirit come? Same verses.
5. Was there a meeting going on in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost? Acts 2:5-13. Who were these people who had gathered in Jerusalem from all over the Roman Empire? Same verses, especially verse 5.
COMMENT: These Jews were called "devout" men because although they were not yet disciples of Christ, they lived according to God's laws revealed in the Old Testament. Remember, at this time the only Bible people had was what we call the Old Testament. The New Testament had not as yet been written.
6. Why were Christ's disciples gathered together with "devout" Jews from all over the Roman Empire? Had everyone gathered together at a specific time and in a specific place for the Day of Pentecost? What was significant about the Day of Pentecost? Acts 2:1.
COMMENT: The Day of Pentecost was observed LONG BEFORE the Holy Spirit came in A.D. 31 as recorded in the Book of Acts!
Pentecost was called the "Feast of Firstfruits" in the Old Testament and was observed by "devout" people (including Christ's disciples) for many generations (Lev. 23:15-21).
Christ's disciples waited in Jerusalem as Jesus had commanded until the Feast of Pentecost or Firstfruits when they were all together in one place on one of God's ANNUAL HOLY DAYS. It was then that Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit and began the New Testament Church!
If Christ's disciples had not obeyed Him -- if they had not been KEEPING THE DAY OF PENTECOST, or Firstfruits -- they WOULD NOT HAVE RECEIVED GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT! God gives His Spirit only to those who OBEY HIM! (Acts 5:32.)
Christ the Wave Sheaf
Almighty God knows man is best reminded by what he repeats YEAR AFTER YEAR! God established His Holy Days -- memorials of the PLAN of God -- in conjunction with the two ANNUAL HARVESTS. God uses the physical harvest seasons as a pattern of the two SPIRITUAL HARVESTS.
In Palestine there are two annual harvest seasons. The first one is a small spring harvest following the winter rains. It begins on the day of the Wave-Sheaf offering, and ends at the Day of Pentecost. In the late summer and early autumn the second harvest season occurred. It followed the late spring or latter rains in Palestine. It ended with the Feast of INGATHERING, which is called in your Bible THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES. This fall harvest is the much greater harvest. You will learn all about it in future lessons of this Bible Course.
The Day of Pentecost pictures the VERY SMALL early harvest.
The Days of Unleavened Bread occur about THE BEGINNING OF THE SMALL SPRING HARVEST SEASON (Lev. 23:10-11). The shoots of grain, planted earlier, have grown to maturity. They are now fruit-bearing stalks -- ready to be harvested.
This first harvest began in the following manner:
On Sunday morning, following the weekly Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread, a small handful of newly sickled stems and heads of barley was brought to the priest to be accepted by God. This was called the "Wave-Sheaf Offering," or the "first of the firstfruits."
1. Why did God instruct the Israelites to cut a small handful of grain and wave it to be accepted by Him during the Days of Unleavened Bread? Lev. 23:10. What does the Wave Sheaf symbolize? I Cor. 15:20-23. Who was the FIRST of the firstfruits of God's spiritual harvest? Same verses.
2. After Christ was crucified, buried and resurrected, did He need to be ACCEPTED as the firstfruits of the spiritual harvest? John 20:17. Were His disciples permitted to touch Him? Same verse.
COMMENT: Because Christ was a holy sacrifice, and was the FIRST human being to be resurrected, He fulfilled the symbolism
4 of the Wave-Sheaf Offering. The morning after He was resurrected, He had to go before God the Father to be accepted, just as the High Priest in the Old Testament had to wave the sheaf of barley to be accepted by God before the spring harvest could begin. When Mary met Christ in the garden, she couldn't touch Him because His sacrifice had not yet been accepted in Heaven.
3. After Christ's sacrifice had been accepted by God the Father, could His disciples touch Him? Compare Mat. 28:9 with John 20:20-28.
4. What day was it when Mary saw Christ in the garden? John 20:19.
COMMENT: This was the day following the weekly Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread. It was the VERY SAME DAY THAT THE WAVE SHEAF WAS OFFERED! It was on this very day that Jesus Christ, the first of the firstfruits of God's spiritual harvest, was accepted as the WaveSheaf Offering in heaven!
5. After Christ was accepted in heaven and returned to earth, what day was it when the disciples were permitted to touch Him? John 20:19. Clearly, Christ went to heaven as the FIRST RESURRECTED Son of God -- the first harvested product of God's Master Plan -- and returned to His disciples ALL IN THE SAME DAY!
Pentecost in the New Testament
Once the Wave Sheaf was offered, the spring harvest began. The spring harvest ended with the annual Sabbath of the Feast of Firstfruits, when all the people gathered to give thanks for the produce God had given them. Another name for the Feast of Firstfruits was the Feast of Weeks (Deut. 16:9-12). Among Greek-speaking peoples it was called "Pentecost."
The word "pentecost" refers specifically to counting the fifty days that elapsed from the day of the Wave-Sheaf Offering, up to and including the Feast of Firstfruits or Weeks. (Lev. 23:15-16.)
1. How long is the Feast of Firstfruits -- Pentecost -- to continue to be KEPT among God's people? Lev. 23:14, 21.
2. Should God's people still be KEEPING PENTECOST TODAY? Same verses.
3. Did Christ's disciples know they must appear before God on the Day of Firstfruits -- Pentecost? Acts 2:1-4. Did they think that God's ANNUAL HOLY DAYS WERE DONE AWAY BY THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST? Same verses.
4. Did the apostles continue to KEEP Pentecost after the crucifixion? Acts 20:16 and I Corinthians 16:8.
COMMENT: The last part of Acts 20:16 can be translated, "... if it were possible for him TO CELEBRATE at Jerusalem, the Day of Pentecost." Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, was HURRYING to KEEP PENTECOST at Jerusalem, 25 years after Christ's crucifixion and ascension into heaven!
5. By what other name does the Old Testament refer to the Feast of Firstfruits (Pentecost)? Deut. 16:9-12.
6. What do Acts 13:14 and 16:13 tell us?
COMMENT: In Acts 13:14, the "Sabbath day Paul kept in Antioch of Pisidia should properly be translated, "day of WEEKS"!
In Acts 16:13, the Sabbath meeting held by the river in Macedonia was actually the ANNUAL SABBATH OF PENTECOST! Again, the word, "Sabbath" should be translated "WEEKS" from the Greek word, "sabbaton," which means either "sabbaths" or "weeks."
The apostle Paul KEPT PENTECOST, or the Feast of Weeks, with Gentile Christians in Asia Minor and Northern Greece years after God sent His Holy Spirit to the New Testament Church! Until 300 years after the death of Jesus Christ the Day of Pentecost was commonly called the Day of Firstfruits.
Counting Fifty Days
Pentecost always falls on Sunday. When all the scriptures are considered, we see that there is no evidence to prove that we must wait until after Unleavened Bread is past to begin the count for Pentecost in any year. We agree with the Sadducees that the term Sabbath in Leviticus 23:11 is a weekly Sabbath and not the annual Sabbath. We also agree that the count for Pentecost should always begin on a Sunday and that the Sunday should always fall during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
In addition, we reject the Pharisees' and the current Jewish insistence that the wave sheaf always occur on the 16th day of the month, since Leviticus 23:15 requires counting from the "morrow after the Sabbath."
Our conclusion is that in years when the Passover falls on the Sabbath, we should begin the count for Pentecost on the First Day of Unleavened Bread. The following is a summary of the most important facts:
1. Leviticus 23:14 requires that none of the spring barley harvest be eaten until after the wave sheaf has been waved. There is nothing in this statement that would exclude the produce eaten by the Israelites after entering Canaan in Joshua 5. Some believe that the wave sheaf should be on the Sunday after the Days of Unleavened Bread whenever Passover falls on the Sabbath. It is our view that the appropriate date for the wave sheaf is the Sunday during the Days of Unleavened Bread even when that date is the First Day of Unleavened Bread.
2. Joshua 5:10-12 describes the Israelites entering the land of Canaan. We are told that they ate of the "produce of the land" on the day after the Passover. The day after the Passover is the First Day of Unleavened Bread (Numbers 33:3), the 15th day of the first month.
3. When the only Sunday during Unleavened Bread is also the First Day of Unleavened Bread, there is no scriptural reason to conclude that the wave sheaf would be waved on another Sunday outside the festival. This would add an unnecessary delay to the beginning of the barley harvest. We know that the festivals of Passover and Unleavened Bread are intimately connected to the spring harvest, both physically and spiritually. To postpone the beginning of the barley harvest until after these two festivals have ended makes little sense when we understand the spiritual significance of the spring harvest.
4. Jesus Christ was resurrected at the end of the Sabbath, three days and three nights after His burial. He ascended to the Father as the ultimate fulfillment of the wave sheaf on the Sunday during the Days of Unleavened Bread. This marked the beginning of the spiritual harvest of the firstfruits.
(Note: Herbert W. Armstrong came to the understanding that Pentecost always falls on a Sunday, originaly the COG kept Monday.)
God Calls the Few Today
1. When the Eternal brought Israel out of the bondage of Egypt, did He tell them plainly this was not the time for them to be able to understand His Master Plan completely? Deut. 29:2-4.
2. Why did God blind these people? Romans 11:32.
COMMENT: Ancient Israel isn't lost forever. Their time of understanding and participating in God's plan has not yet come. (Rom. 11:26, II Pet. 3:9, 10, and I Tim. 2:3-4.)
3. Were the vast majority in Christ's day receptive to the witness He gave them? John 5:18 and 10:31.
COMMENT: The Jews of Jesus' day tried several times to kill Him for what He was saying. Finally they succeeded in murdering the Saviour of mankind.
4. Did Jesus Christ disturb the blindness of the Israelites of His time? Mark 4:11-12. Do you catch the SIGNIFICANCE of this verse? Why did Jesus Christ speak in parables? Was it, as you may have heard, to make His meaning CLEARER? Verse 12. Isn't this merely a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah? Isa 28:11-13. Did God want them to understand with their hearts? Same verse.
COMMENT: A man's heart in biblical symbolism is the seat of intellect -- the mind.
5. Is it possible for any person with a carnal, natural mind to fully understand the things of God? I Cor. 2:14. How are SPIRITUAL THINGS known and understood? Same verse, see also Rom. 8:7-8, and Eph. 4:18.
6. Are people in our modern twentieth century able to understand God's plan, or are they, too, blinded to it? Will it be the great majority, or only the few, who understand God's plan today? Mat. 7:13-14.
A Parable Tells
Today the keys that unlock the secrets of God's Plan are available. Because of God's mercy you don't have to remain blinded, but now you TOO CAN UNDERSTAND THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD. These are TRUTHS that men have wanted to know for thousands of years!
Now understand the most important parable Jesus ever uttered. It's found in Matthew 13.
1. What happens to the "seed" of spiritual truth when it falls by the wayside? Mat. 13:3-9, 18-23. Notice especially verses 4 and 19. Did these people ever understand their part in God's Master Plan? Verse 19.
COMMENT: These people hear the warning message of God's ministers but never comprehend the implications of what they hear. The message of God's coming Kingdom and God's Master Plan makes no impression on them.
2. What happens to the seed as it falls on stony ground? Verses 5-6 and 20-21. Did these people originally begin on God's plan happily? Verse 20. But when the going became difficult, were they able by their own human power to continue? Verses 6 and 21.
COMMENT: These people gratefully receive Christ's Passover sacrifice as payment for their past sins. They begin to try to obey God -- unleavening their lives -- but they don't seek the help of His powerful Holy Spirit. Therefore they have no depth! Soon the spiritual life -- a germ of strength -- dies. They have failed to CONTINUE in the purpose for which they have been born.
3. What of the seed as it falls among the thorns? Verses 7 and 22. Does this group bring forth fruit -- obedience to God's commands -- or are they too busy with the selfish cares of this degenerating world? Verse 22.
4. Who is it then that brings forth spiritual fruit? Verses 8 and 23. Do these people really understand God's Master Plan? Verse 23. Have they allowed God to work in their lives -- helping them to overcome their human nature? Same verse. Do they BEGIN TO GROW SPIRITUALLY -- imbibing of God's own character by SUBMITTING TO HIS HOLY SPIRIT, and OBEYING HIS COMMANDMENTS -- until they become mature, fruit-bearing Christians? Same verse, see also Luke 8:15.
COMMENT: These people become a part of the HARVEST OF FIRSTFRUITS. All of the other seed of the parable never BROUGHT FORTH FRUIT OF OBEDIENCE in God's harvest plan.
5. Is God concerned with HOW MUCH we do? Verses 8 and 23.
COMMENT: God knows how much each of us can do in bringing forth good fruit in his Master Plan. By allowing God's Spirit to work within us we will produce thirty, sixty or one hundred fold of good fruit, or WORKS, in our changed lives.
6. Just HOW MUCH does God expect us to do? Luke 17:7-10. Did the master of this servant GIVE COMMANDS which were to be obeyed? Verses 7 and 8.
7. For merely obeying instructions, doing no more than was REQUIRED of him, did the servant deserve thanks? Verse 9. Doesn't Jesus Christ say that when we have done only what is required of us in God's plan and NO MORE, we are STILL UNPROFITABLE? Verse 10. Does He expect us to do MORE than the minimum requirement of the Ten Commandments? To go above and beyond the call of our duties? Same verse.
What It Means to Be the Firstfruits in God's Plan!
Fifty days after Jesus Christ's sacrifice was accepted in heaven, the Holy Spirit came according to the promises Jesus had made (Acts 2:1).
1. What was the special offering made on the Day of Pentecost in the Old Testament? Lev. 23:17. What does the Bible say these loaves symbolized? Same verse. What are these firstfruits called in New Testament times? James 1:18.
COMMENT: Notice there are TWO loaves, covering the two periods of the Old Testament and the New Testament Church.
The word "church" has been translated from the Greek word, "ecclesia" which means the "called out ones."
Pentecost, or Firstfruits pictures to us the first part of the spiritual harvest, the calling out of God's True Church -- a FEW PEOPLE and a SMALL FIRST HARVEST. God is not dealing with the vast majority of the world today, but He has made these wonderful truths plain to the few that He is calling.
2. Why do we find leaven put into these loaves of the firstfruit offering? I Cor. 5:7. Since the Bible uses leaven as a type of sin, does this mean that there is still sin in the Church? I John 1:8. Does this mean that sin SHOULD REMAIN in the New Testament Church? I John 1:9. Of course not! Sin is to be put out whenever found. But only Jesus was without sin.
3. Does the Bible plainly state that converted Christians in this age are considered "firstfruits" in God's plan? James 1:18.
4. Is the term "firstfruits" applied to specific living Christians after the coming of the Holy Spirit in 31 A.D.? Romans 16:5.
COMMENT: After Christ was accepted as the Wave Sheaf, the general harvest of firstfruits could begin. Still only a SMALL HARVEST OF PEOPLE DURING THIS AGE IS TO BE REAPED at the second coming of Christ!
5. What are those who stand before Christ called at His second coming? Rev. 14:1-4. How are they described? Same verse. Did they have to come out of the world and separate themselves from the God-rejecting majority of mankind? Verse 4. What is the outstanding characteristic of those who are called the "firstfruits" of God's people? Rev. 14:12.
6. Are these "firstfruits" mentioned in the plan of resurrections? I Cor. 15:20-23 and I Thess. 4:13-18.
COMMENT: First Jesus Christ, the Wave Sheaf, was resurrected, and became the first of the firstfruits of God's Master Plan (Col. 1:18). After a period of time symbolized by the fifty-day period ending with Pentecost, those who are Christ's and have the Holy Spirit are to be resurrected as the completed first harvest in God's plan.
7. Notice what Christ wants us to learn about the spiritual harvests. It is found in Mat. 13:24-30 and 37-43. What happens when Christ sows the seed of truth among the people of the earth? Verses 24-25 explained by verses 37-38.
8. How did Christ know the wheat, the good grain, from the tares, or worthless weeds? Verse 26. Although some people try to hide their wicked works, is the fruit of their disobedience easily recognizable to God? Verses 26 and 38. What is the final end of those who do not produce the fruit of God's Holy Spirit in their lives? Verses 30 and 41-42.
9. What happens to those who produce righteousness, obedience and the other fruits of God's Spirit? Verse 30 and 41, 43.
10. When is the harvest? Verses 30 and 39.
COMMENT: The phrase "end of the world" should be translated "END OF THE AGE" indicating the final days of man's rule over the earth and the time of the second coming of Jesus Christ. This is the time of the harvest of firstfruits. The fifty-day period between the Wave-Sheaf offering and Pentecost symbolizes what has been going on since Jesus Christ sent His Holy Spirit in 31 A.D. During this time God has been calling out an "elect" or chosen people as "firstfruits" of His Master Plan. These "firstfruits" will be reaped at the second coming of Jesus Christ -- ONLY A VERY FEW SHORT YEARS FROM NOW!
11. Who is it that does the reaping of God's firstfruit harvest? Verses 30 and 39. Compare I Thes. 4:16-17 and Mat. 24:31.
COMMENT: When Jesus Christ returns to this earth, He will send forth His angels to gather those who are the elect and chosen -- the good grain -- into His Kingdom.
Holy Spirit Prepares God's Firstfruits
Now let's understand why the Holy Spirit came on the day that symbolizes the harvest of firstfruits.
1. Does Jesus Christ promise His disciples POWER and supernatural help? Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4.
2. With God's Holy Spirit will Christians be able to do the same works Jesus did? John 14:12. Will true Christians be able to do even greater works than Christ did by the POWER of God's Spirit? Same verse.
3. Could Jesus Christ do anything with just His human power? John 5:20, 30. John 8:28. Where did Jesus get the power He needed to do the works He did? John 14:10 last part. Notice the words, "but the Father THAT DWELLETH IN ME, He doeth the works."
4. Will God's Spirit be the same in true Christians as it was in Jesus Christ? Does it come from the Father? John 14:11, John 14:16.
5. Is it necessary to obey God to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? Acts 5:32. Did Jesus also have to OBEY GOD to use God's Holy Spirit? Does He expect Christians to OBEY TODAY? John 15:10. Isn't the same Holy Spirit Jesus Christ had from God the Father available to Christians today? Is God a respecter of persons Rom. 2:11.
6. By the power of God's Spirit was Jesus Christ able to overcome? John 16:33 and Rev. 3:21. Does Christ intend for Christians to overcome? Rev. 3:21.
7. What will happen when you allow God's Spirit to lead you? John 16:13.
COMMENT: The pronoun "he" sometimes used to refer to God's Spirit in the King James Version should properly be translated "it." The King James translators, blinded by the false doctrines of Babylon, inserted this flagrant error into our Bible. The Holy Spirit is NOT A PART OF A PAGAN TRINITY! The Holy Spirit is the POWER of God. It is the very seed of eternal life which the Father implants in every son of His.
8. To what is the Holy Spirit compared? John 7:37-39. Had God's Spirit been available before the Day of Pentecost? Same verses. Once Christians have received the Holy Spirit, won't it flow out from them just as it did from Jesus Christ? Same verses.
9. What kind of works will God's Spirit do in the lives of true Christians? Rom. 5:5. What is the love of God? I John 5:3.
10. What are the other fruits of God's Holy Spirit? Gal. 5:22-23.
11. What is the result of being ruled by human nature man's carnal mind? Gal. 5:16-17 and Rom. 8:7. Is man's human nature contrary to the ways of God's Spirit? Same verses. What is the result of being ruled by your carnal human mind -- of being "set" in the ways of human nature? Rom. 8:6. But if you allow God to guide you through His Holy Spirit, what is the result? Rom. 8:1-4.
12. Did the apostle Paul recognize the battle between God's Spirit and his carnal mind? Rom. 7:23. Who would deliver Paul? Can we deliver ourselves from the grip of our human nature, or must we rely on su would Paul do when he was delivered from sin? Would he continue to serve -- obey -- sin? Orpernatural help from Jesus Christ -- the HELP OF GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT? Verses 24 and 25. What would he serve -- obey -- God's law? Same verses.
COMMENT: The Passover pictures our repentance from sin, and acknowledging that we need Jesus Christ's sacrifice to PAY FOR OUR SINS.
Next, you must make up your mind to QUIT SINNING. You show your willingness to obey by being BAPTIZED and beginning to SUBMIT TO GOD'S PERFECT LAWS. This step is pictured by the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Thirdly, you must receive SUPERNATURAL HELP from God! God will give true Christians His powerful Holy Spirit to help them OVERCOME. God first sent His Spirit on the Day of Pentecost!
Jesus Christ overcame, Paul the apostle overcame, and you can overcome your own selfishness, your carnal human mind, if you yield yourself to Almighty God and receive the help of His Holy Spirit. When you do, you will become one of the few TRUE CHRISTIANS, one of the FIRSTFRUITS of Almighty God's Master Plan of salvation.
Who Are the "ELECT"?
1. Can you be "Christ's" -- can you belong to Jesus Christ -- if you don't have God's Holy Spirit? Rom. 8:9-11.
2. Is everything in creation waiting for the time when the FIRSTFRUITS of God's spiritual harvest will be reaped? Rom. 8:23. Do the firstfruits themselves eagerly yearn for the time when they will be able to complete their part in God's plan and become members of God's own Family? Same verse.
COMMENT: The word "adoption" in the eighth chapter of Romans is a woeful mistranslation! Those who translated the King James version of the Bible couldn't understand that GOD INTENDS human beings TO BECOME MEMBERS OF GOD'S OWN FAMILY -- VERY SONS OF GOD! They mistranslated the Greek word "sonship" as "adoption" BECAUSE THE VITAL TRUTHS YOU ARE NOW LEARNING WERE HIDDEN FROM THEM!
3. What other term does God use to refer to the Christians He has chosen to receive the firstfruits of His Spirit? Rom. 8:33. Aren't the elect the same people who are promised brotherhood with Jesus Christ, and sonship in God's family? Rom. 8:29.
4. These ELECT CHRISTIANS, the firstfruits of God, are those who have God's Spirit and understand His Master Plan. Can these people be deceived, misled, by Satan and his false ministers any longer? Mat. 24:24.
5. Because they are the firstfruits of God's harvest, will He go to special lengths to see they are spared from the terrible things which will occur just before Christ's second coming? Mat. 24:21, 22.
COMMENT: The firstfruits in God's plan are sealed -- preserved -- by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). The Holy Spirit which we receive is called "the earnest of our inheritance" (verse 14). In business terms the "earnest" refers to a VERY SMALL down payment of money that is given to show GOOD FAITH in a business deal. It is the guarantee that the full payment will be made LATER. God has given the "earnest" of His Spirit to those called to be firstfruits. It is God's GUARANTEE to Christians they will receive the FULLNESS of His Spirit, and SONSHIP IN HIS FAMILY WHEN JESUS CHRIST RETURNS TO THIS EARTH!
These consecrated people now compose the ONLY TRUE CHURCH OF GOD!
God's Law in Your Heart!
1. Did Christ's death -- the shedding of His blood in our stead -- provide not only remission of sins but also a promise of eternal inheritance to those God is calling? Heb. 9:15-17.
2. Did Jesus Christ -- our Passover sacrifice and High Priest -- become the mediator of a NEW COVENANT? Heb. 9:15.
COMMENT: The Greek word "diatheke", translated "testament," means covenant or AGREEMENT, as well as a TESTAMENT or a WILL.
3. Is the everlasting NEW COVENANT called "better"' than the old? Heb. 8:6. Why is it better? Verse 7. Who was at fault in the Old Covenant? Did God fail to keep His part of the covenant, or did the people fail to keep their promise to OBEY HIS LAW? Verse 8.
4. What sort of covenant will God make with Christians who are born again? Heb. 8:10-12. Are those with whom God will make His NEW covenant also called "ISRAEL"? Verse 10. Is God's New Testament Church called "Israel"? Compare Gal. 6:16 with Romans 11:17-18.
COMMENT: God is yet to make His New Covenant with Israel and Judah. Not carnal Israel and Judah, but a SPIRITUALLY CONVERTED Israel and Judah. God is calling people out of this evil world. Whether Gentile or Israelite by birth, they become "the Israel of God" -- they are HIS TRUE CHURCH!
5. What are the conditions of the new covenant or agreement God will make with all those who become spiritual Israelites? Heb. 8:10-12. Does God agree to forget your past sins and PUT HIS LAW IN YOUR HEART if you will OBEY Him? Same verses.
6. Does God promise to put His LAW in your MIND? Verse 10.
7. How will God put His law in your mind? Phil. 2:5. Did Jesus Christ have God's Spirit in His mind? Wasn't He the first ever to have been begotten and actually born of God -- the firstfruits of the resurrection? James 1:18 and Col. 1:18. Did Jesus OBEY COMPLETELY -- even suffering DEATH for us? Phil. 2:8.
COMMENT: God expects our COMPLETE OBEDIENCE. To obey God completely we need His Holy Spirit in our minds. It will give us the very same MIND Jesus Christ had. We will see things from Christ's point of view, we will understand and know to obey God's law. Only God's Holy Spirit can give us the SUPERNATURAL POWER WE NEED TO BEGIN TO KEEP GOD'S LAW IN ITS SPIRITUAL INTENT.
8. Without God's Spirit will you be able to really UNDERSTAND God's truth? John 16:13. Without God's Spirit in your mind can you worship God as you should? John 4:24.
COMMENT: WHY the Holy Spirit? God's Holy Spirit will give you the SUPERNATURAL HELP to live the same life today that Jesus Christ lived as a fleshly human being over 1900 years ago. Today Jesus Christ has sent His Holy Spirit to the members of His True Church. Through that Spirit, Christ is LIVING IN THE FLESH AND BLOOD members of His Church. They are LIVING the very same kind of life Jesus lived -- a life of OBEDIENCE, OVERCOMING and ENDURING TO THE END OF THIS AGE!
9. Should Christians rejoice knowing that God's Spirit can help them to overcome this evil world as Jesus Christ did? I John 4:3 and 4.
God's Law Given on Pentecost
It was on Pentecost that God founded the New Testament Church. On that Holy Day in A.D. 31 the Holy Spirit was first made generally available.
But most people have never realized that the Day of Pentecost or Firstfruits also had to do with God's Old Testament congregation -- the nation Israel. The Jews today have never lost the historical tradition that on this annual Holy Day, God Almighty gave them the Law from Mount Sinai!
Understand why both the Law of God and the Holy Spirit were given on this day.
1. Where does God WANT His Law to be written? Jer. 31:33.
2. But where was it ORIGINALLY written? Ex. 31:18.
3. Are the carnal human hearts of men like the stone on which God wrote the Law at Sinai? II Cor. 3:3. Isn't it God's purpose to have the Ten Commandments, originally written in stone, now written in human hearts by His Holy Spirit? Ezek. 36:26-27 and Ezek. 11:19-20.
Pentecost at Sinai!
To Jewish people today, the Feast of Pentecost or Firstfruits always brings to mind God's Law -- the Ten Commandments.
Let's go to the Bible and PROVE -- step by step -- that the ancient Jewish tradition is valid. That on the Day of Pentecost God Almighty Himself spoke the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai.
1. After finally escaping Egypt, by crossing the Red Sea dry shod on the seventh day of Unleavened Bread, how long did Israel travel before the next place of encampment? -- THREE DAYS? Ex. 15:22-23.
COMMENT: Notice Numbers 33:8. In just three days after Israel crossed the Red Sea from Piha-hiroth, they went from ecstasy to bitterness -- the bitter waters of Marah.
Israel arrived at Marah and camped there on the weekly Sabbath following the last Holy Day of Unleavened Bread. (Refer to the chart in Lesson 34, which shows that Israel crossed the Red Sea on a Wednesday, the fourth day of the week. This Sabbath was the third day after that Wednesday.) Here they made camp and rested while God in the Pillar of Cloud stopped.
2. Did Moses preach to the assembly on that day? Ex. 15:26. What was the subject of his sermon -- divine healing? Same verse.
3. Did Israel make their next camp at Elim? Ex. 15:27. And then at a place overlooking the Red Sea? Numbers 33:10.
COMMENT: Each of the campsites indicates the passing of a week of travel, and a Sabbath rest. For two weeks Israel slowly progressed southeastward, roughly paralleling the shore of the Red Sea.
4. On what day did they camp in the wilderness of Sin? Ex. 16:1. Isn't this the next Sabbath rest? Now a full four weeks of the seven weeks had elapsed between the Days of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost, hadn't they?
5. Did Moses have a message of obedience to proclaim to Israel on this Sabbath Day? Ex. 16:4, 5. Did that message ONLY announce that God would provide them manna to eat? Or was it to set forth the proof that God Almighty was the Creator and invisible Ruler and Lawgiver of Israel? Notice verse 6 compared with verses 2-3, 8.
COMMENT: Notice also that it was against Moses and Aaron that Israel murmured when they said, "YE have brought us forth into this wilderness ...." They had not yet understood that God Almighty Himself was their Leader -- the One to whom they could look for physical sustenance.
The Sabbath Day is a memorial of creation. It identifies God as the One who has created everything. It is also a TEST COMMANDMENT. God is here testing Israel to see whether they would obey Him and keep His Law.
6. Did Moses and Aaron say there would be convincing proof after sundown? Verse 6. Why after sundown? Because that Sabbath ended at sundown.
COMMENT: Moses and Aaron explained how God would perform the miracle of the manna in a Sabbath service. When the Sabbath was over God brought their words to pass.
7. Did the manna begin the next morning? Verses 8, 13-15. And did it continue uninterrupted for six days? Verse 22. Then was there another Sabbath? Verse 23. Then the elapsed time as we follow Israel from encampment to encampment is firmly established, is it not? Both the fourth and fifth Sabbaths after the Days of Unleavened Bread were spent in the Wilderness of Sin.
8. But even after the miracle of the manna did the people perceive that it was really God Almighty Himself who led them? Ex. 17:2-4.
COMMENT: Israel didn't "get the point" because they did not have God's Holy Spirit.
Things got worse and worse after they left the Wilderness of Sin. This was the most desolate part of the desert. They had to make extra stops during the week for rest and to allow the weaker members of the march to catch up. Therefore Numbers 33:12 and 13 list their short journeys before the next regular Sabbath rest -- the 29th day of the month -- which is mentioned in Exodus 17:1.
9. Did Amalek -- an ancient nation that dwelt in this desert area -- arrive for battle on this SIXTH Sabbath after Israel left Egypt? Ex. 17:8. And did the battle last all the next day, preventing any further movement of the children of Israel? Verses 9-12.
COMMENT: God wants us to learn an important lesson from this experience ancient Israel suffered. The attack of Amalek against Israel is typical of the attitude and accusations this world exhibits when it sees that you are beginning to keep God's Holy Days -- His Annual Sabbaths.
10. What happened on the next day? Ex. 18:5-8. And the following day after that? Verse 13.
COMMENT: By the time they broke camp again, it was the middle of the week. BUT THEY DID NOT NOW HAVE FAR TO GO!
Notice that they were already camped at the foot of Mount Horeb, or Sinai. But they were not yet on the side of the mountain where they were to remain encamped for nearly the next whole year.
11. On what day of the week did they come into the wilderness of Sinai, which stretched away from the other side of the mountain? Ex. 19:1, 2.
COMMENT: The expression "THE SAME DAY" could only mean one of two things. Either this was the "same day" of the month or the "same day" of the week. They had departed from Rameses on the 15th day of the month -- on the fifth day of the week, on a Thursday.
We have seen that Israel was already in the environs of Mount Sinai on the 29th of the second month, so this "same day" could not refer to the fifteenth day of the third month. The words the "same day" refer to the FIFTH DAY OF THE WEEK -- THE SAME WEEKDAY THEY HAD LEFT EGYPT -- A THURSDAY. On that Thursday, the 5th day of the third month, they must have moved around the mountain to their new campsite!
Some modern translators who have misunderstood the entire context of Israel's trek through the wilderness, MISTRANSLATE the Hebrew expression in Ex. 19:1, 2 as "the first day of the third month." This is NOT what God intended!
Notice the significance of these careful records of Israel's journey.
12. On the next day, Friday -- the SIXTH DAY of the week -- Moses went up the mountain (verse 3) and God gave him a message to relay to the people. Since the people were not in convocation on Friday, Moses sent for and gathered the leaders of the people (verse 7).
On the Sabbath -- the SEVENTH DAY -- did God give another message to Moses to speak to ALL the people? Verse 10.
COMMENT: Notice that this Sabbath was the seventh weekly Sabbath since Israel left Egypt.
13. What was the message God revealed to Moses on this seventh Sabbath? Ex. 19:11. Was it not that the people should make themselves ready for the coming SUNDAY when GOD ALMIGHTY HIMSELF WOULD DO THE PREACHING? Same verse and Ex. 20:1.
COMMENT: This Sunday was PENTECOST -- 1487 B.C.!
The impact on Israel that morning (Ex. 19:18, 19; and 20:18-21) is a type of the impact of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in A.D. 31.
Notice carefully and copy into your notes Hebrews 12:18-21 and meditate over the instruction the apostle Paul has written for our admonition upon whom the ENDS OF THIS AGE HAVE COME!
True Church Founded on Pentecost
It is vitally important for you to understand where God's TRUE CHURCH IS TODAY!
On the Day of Pentecost, June 18, 31 A.D., Almighty God founded the New Testament Church. This Church is not a stately building composed of wood, stone, and cement. It is a Church composed of God-called, SPIRIT-BEGOTTEN PEOPLE!
The word "church" originally never referred to the building where Christians gather. It is properly applied to the PEOPLE who gather together, who have been given God's Holy Spirit. The word "church" is a UNI-PLURAL WORD like "family" and "team."
There is ONE CHURCH with MANY MEMBERS
God originally established His Church in the wilderness when He brought the Israelites out of Egypt. It was called the congregation of Israel (Acts 7:38 and Lev. 8:3). These people were the PHYSICAL TYPE of the spiritual Church God later built. Now He is calling people out of SIN. They are called His "Church" because the word "ecclesia" in the Greek which is translated "church" means "called-out ones." (I Cor. 10:32.)
1. Does the true Church have a foundation? Eph. 2:18-20.
COMMENT: The writings of the apostles and the prophets encompass the whole Bible New and Old Testaments.
2. What -- Who -- is the CORNERSTONE God's true Church is built upon? Verse 20.
3. What is this "spiritual building" -- the Church of God -- to grow into? Verse 21. What is the purpose for building such a temple? Verse 22.
COMMENT: God Almighty dwells in His Church through His Holy Spirit.
4. Notice the comparison Paul makes to help us understand the difference between the Old Testament period and the Church of God in the New Testament. Heb. 12:18-23. What is the church of the New Testament called? Verse 23.
COMMENT: Those who are called, have their names written in heaven -- those who are being made perfect -- ARE THE FIRSTFRUITS. They are members of THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD!
COMMENT: You need to know and thoroughly PROVE where the TRUE CHURCH OF GOD IS TODAY! You need to know WHICH CHURCH JESUS CHRIST PUT HIS HOLY SPIRIT IN ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST! IT IS THROUGH THE WORK OF GOD'S ONLY TRUE CHURCH THAT YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO LEARN THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT ALMIGHTY GOD'S MASTER PLAN FOR SALVATION.
Write immediately for our free booklet, "A True History of the True Church."
Pentecost a Sign
The Day of Pentecost or Firstfruits is a SIGN. It identifies those who have God's Holy Spirit, those who are God's elect, those who will be resurrected when Jesus Christ returns to this earth!
The Day of Pentecost identifies God's ONLY TRUE CHURCH! Only God's true Church keeps the day of Pentecost at the right time in the right way -- with the understanding of God's plan. That is because ONLY GOD'S TRUE CHURCH RECEIVED HIS HOLY SPIRIT AND WAS FOUNDED BY JESUS CHRIST ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST IN 31 A.D.!
It is through GOD'S ONLY TRUE CHURCH -- THE CHURCH OF GOD FAITHFUL FLOCK, with headquarters in Valley Springs, CALIFORNIA -- that you have been able to understand the deep SPIRITUAL message revealed in the Day of Pentecost.
Almighty God has made this wonderful knowledge available to you. Are YOU going to ACT ON IT?