Fred R. Coulter—May 18, 2013

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Here we are for Day 49, the day before Pentecost. Today we're going to cover some very important Scriptures, and we're going to ask:

  • Why, with the Old Testament, did the Jews get it wrong concerning Pentecost?
  • Why, with the New Testament, did those who are the Christians today get it wrong concerning what it's really telling us?

How many have the book, The Comprehensive Calculated Hebrew Calendar by Arthur Spier? One! That gives every year, clear to 2100. So, beginning with the Jews we see this: They have the calendar correct as far as the day equates to the Roman calendar. But they have Passover wrong, the Wave Sheaf Offering wrong and Pentecost wrong. Yet, they have Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and the Last Great Day on the right days.

How did such a thing occur when the Jews have the Hebrew Scriptures? Remember, whenever they read the Scriptures in the synagogue from the scrolls or whatever they have, that is the Word of God that they are reading. They turn around and do exactly like the Protestants and Catholics do; they read things from the Bible and have their own traditions and interpretations.

I'll begin with Num. 9 why the Jews have a 15th Passover, where everywhere in the Bible—and even when they read it—it says the 14th. Then they misinterpret it because they do not properly apply the Scriptures. Whenever you interpret by your own ideas, or by someone else's ideas, and you don't let the Scriptures interpret the Scriptures, you're going to come up wrong.

  • How is it that they have a 15th Passover, and yet, everywhere it says the 14th?
  • Why is it that the Churches of God keep a 14th Passover while the Jews keep a 15th?

During the days of Jesus there was a combination of both.

Here's the problem that was confronted to the people concerning the Passover, Numbers 9:1: "And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 'Let the children of Israel also keep the Passover at its appointed time'" (vs 1-2). What is the appointed time?

Leviticus 23:4: "These are the appointed Feasts of the LORD, Holy convocations which you shall proclaim in their appointed seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month, between the two evenings… [ben ha arbyim] …is the LORD'S Passover" (vs 4-5). Keep that in mind; just put that on the shelf for just a minute.

Number 9:3: "'In the fourteenth day of this month, between the two evenings… [that agrees with Lev. 23] …you shall keep it in its appointed time. You shall keep it according to all its statutes, and according to all the ceremonies of it.' And Moses spoke to the children of Israel to keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month between the two evenings in the wilderness of Sinai. According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, the children of Israel did" (vs 3-5).

Now here comes a problem, v 6: "And there were certain men who were defiled by the dead body of a man, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day. And they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day. And those men said to him, 'We are defiled by the dead body of a man. Why are we kept back that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in its appointed time among the children of Israel?' And Moses said to them, 'You wait here, and I will hear what the LORD will command about you.' And the LORD spoke to Moses saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel, saying, "If any man of you or of your generations… [this is a judgment going continuously out in time] …shall be unclean because of a dead body, or in a journey afar off, he shall still keep the Passover to the LORD. They shall keep it the fourteenth day of the second month between the two evenings, eating it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs"'" (vs 6-11). Then they had the same ordinance: don't go out of the house. If someone was clean and didn't keep the Passover, they couldn't keep the second Passover.

Out of this: Did the Jews sin and go into captivity? Yes! Jerusalem was destroyed in 586B.C. and they went off into captivity into Babylon. It was a 20-year period that they went, and three invasions. Here you are in exile. You can't get back to the land of Israel because it's overrun with Gentiles, laid waste and desolate that God said it would have its land sabbath and rest for 70 years.

How are you going to keep the Passover? Let's notice also this does not include the Feast of Unleavened Bread, just the Passover. The answer is that they could not keep it. They could keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Here's what the Jews did. They said, 'We're going to call all the Feast of Unleavened Bread Passover. We will have a Seder meal—which was originally The Night to be Much Observed meal—and we will observe it with a lamb shank,' because they couldn't offer the lamb to have the whole lamb. They knew that. Because we know the whole Feast, including the Passover, is eight days, 'what we will do is add another day at the end of Unleavened Bread and call that the 22nd, the last day of Unleavened Bread.'

When they came back out of Babylon, and came back into the land—when God brought them back—they reverted and kept the 14th Passover as we find in Ezra 6. As more Jews came back, they brought with them the practice of the 15th Passover. Some of the Levites were involved. Most of the priests remained faithful to the domestic 14th Passover, but the Levites and later the Pharisees wanted to follow the custom that was done in the Diaspora, or in the exile.

They misinterpreted Exo. 12—that's why it's all in The Christian Passover book—to mean 'between the two evenings'; two interpretations:

  • from the declining of the sun at noon
  • a the 9th hour which is approximately 3 p.m.
  • When were the priests to light the candles at the temple? Between the two evenings!
  • Why do you light them? So there will be light when it's dark!
  • Is it dark at a few minutes after noon? No!
  • Is it dark at 3 p.m. in the afternoon? No!
  • When does it start to get dark? When the sun goes below the horizon and there is between the two evenings!

If they would have followed that, they would have been just fine. Part of the people kept the 14th Passover, and part of the people kept the 15th Passover. We go through all of this in The Christian Passover book, showing that Jesus and the disciples kept the 14th.

What did Jesus tell the disciples? Let's cover this so that we will understand it, because we need to follow the Calculated Hebrew Calendar. Then people look on the Calculated Hebrew Calendar and guess what? Passover is on the 15th! And guess what else? The Wave Sheaf Offering Day is wrong! Pentecost—with few exceptions—falls on the wrong day.

Here's what Jesus said; I want you go back and think about what Jesus commanded the apostles. What did Jesus say concerning the breaking of the bread? This do in remembrance of Me! We proved, going through the chronology in the Passover book that they kept a 14th Passover and they kept it in a house—did they not? Yes!

What did He say concerning the wine? This do in remembrance of Me until I come! The phrase 'as often as,' we won't get into that technicality here.

Matthew 28:18: "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.'" Not to Peter! Not to Paul! To Jesus!

Verse 19: "Therefore, go and make disciples in all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you… [Did He not command them concerning the Passover? Yes, He did!] …And lo, I am with you always, even until the completion of the age" (vs 19-20).

  • How long were they to do this? Until Christ returns!
  • Has He returned? No!

Just a little something here for the Protestants and Catholics: Since all authority has been granted to Christ in heaven and earth, any change in what Jesus taught is a presumption and false! That takes care of all their communion practices.

Now let's come back to Leviticus 23; let's look at another one where the Jews have it wrong. As I pointed out a couple of times in the past, this was really, really tricky for one of Michael Heiss' professors of the Old Testament. Michael studied at the Hebrew college and also the University of Judaica. At the University of Judaica they're going through Lev. 23.

Leviticus 23:9: "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, "When you have come into the land… [they couldn't do this until they got into the land] …which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest of it, then you shall bring the premier sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD to be accepted for you. On the next day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it"'" (vs 9-11).

'The Sabbath' comes from the Hebrew: 'ha Shabbat.' That means the weekly Sabbath! All Holy Days are called 'Shabbat.' Even in the New Testament, what happened when the Jews wanted the bodies of Jesus and the two malefactors who were with Him taken down? They said, because it was a preparation day and a Sabbath was coming on, and that Sabbath was a high day!

This has the correct translation of it: "…On the next day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it" (v 11). Then is gives all the instructions of what should be waved. If it is to be the next day after the weekly Sabbath, what day is that? The first day of the week! This is the correct translation. Michael Heiss and I went over this with a fine-toothcomb. I don't think there is another English translation that has it this correct:

Verse 15: "And you shall count to you beginning with the next day after the Sabbath …"—not excluding! That's why the Worldwide Church of God/Radio Church of God had it wrong. They started counting with Monday, the second day of the week rather than with the first day of the week. I would agree with a Monday Pentecost IF you can show me that Monday comes after the Sabbath. Can't do it!

Verse 15: "And you shall count to you beginning with the next day after the Sabbath beginning with the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete." That means each week ending with a Sabbath. That excludes partial weeks, which you would have if you started with Monday.

Verse 16: "Even unto the day after the seventh Sabbath… [What is the day after the seventh Sabbath? First day of the week!] …you shall number fifty days. And you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD." Then it tells what it was to be.

On the 50th day they also did something that was unusual, v 17: "You shall bring out of your homes two wave loaves of two tenth parts. They shall be of fine flour…." This was the end of the harvest—seven weeks to the harvest. Then the 50th day they had a special offering.

"…They shall be baked with leaven…" (v 17). This seems to contradict what we have during the Days of Unleavened Bread, that leaven is a type of sin. But for here it is to be offered to God!

"…They are the firstfruits to the LORD" (v 17). Everyone was to bring two loaves; bring them to the priests. The priests were to bless them and wave them. I don't know what the division of the loaves was between the priests and the people.

Matthew 13:33—this has to be the good use of leaven: "Another parable He spoke to them: 'The Kingdom of Heaven is compared to leaven… [you can't compare it to sin; this is a good use of it] …which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour until all was leavened.'"

When you leaven it and bake it you permanently change it—don't you? That's what's going to happen at the resurrection, so this is a type of the resurrection. We're going to be changed! We'll see that tomorrow. Our vile bodies transformed, made like His glorious body. That's the good use of leaven.

In Joshua 5 it's very, very clear that the Passover occurred on the weekly Sabbath, which then makes the first day of Unleavened Bread a Holy Day, plus it is the day after the weekly Sabbath; so you must count from that day—being a Holy Day—and this is where the Jews got it wrong. They said since this Passover, when they came into the land, occurred on the Sabbath, 'therefore, the Wave Sheaf Offering Day should always be the day after the first Holy Day.

Isn't it interesting that they had absolutely everything wrong concerning the important dates and events and Holy Days that applied to Christ and the Church. They rejected Jesus in the main. When the Church first started it was mostly all Jews. God gave many signs and wonders by the hands of the apostles, because the Jews need signs and wonders. You read the first four or five chapters of the book of Acts and you'll see what happened there.

That's how the Jews got it wrong. If you count from the 15th day there's no counting. You count 50 days and you come to Sivan 6, but if you count from the day after the regular Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, then you will have the 7th and the 8th in most cases. Once in a while it will be on the 6th of Sivan.

Sidebar: When Pentecost occurs in the book of Revelation, will it be the year in which the Jews agree, the Catholics agree with God's Pentecost, that it could happen on the 6th of Sivan? Rare occurrence! But the Jews ought to know better, being right one out of six or eight times is not really good.

Now let's come to another difficult problem concerning the translation of the terms:

  • 'ton Sabbaton'—plural for the Sabbath
  • 'ta Sabbata'—Hebrew 'ha Shabbat'—is the singular weekly Sabbath

This even applies to William Tyndale; let me tell you about William Tyndale: Unlike the translators of today, he made a very interesting and profound statement that is in the books that were preserved by the Parker Society: I know—as translators all know—that there are going to be some mistakes and refinements necessary to what I have done. I hope and pray that those following me, who have the knowledge and understanding, will make corrections concerning whatever mistakes they may find.

When the King James translators translated the Bible, they used 95% of Tyndale's translation. Likewise, with the Geneva Bible. Geneva was a little more close. Here is the place that all of the Christian world signals as authorization for keeping Sunday, and also for what they get for Easter Sunday:

John 20:1: "Now, on the first day of the weeks…" You will note there is an asterisk and an explanation. When you understand Lev. 23 correctly, the use of the plural Sabbath here makes sense. The plural Sabbath should never be applied to the weekly Sabbath. They translate it: on the first day of the week—singular.

Verse 1: "Now, on the first day of the weeks…" What day is that? That's the first day of counting toward Pentecost, because there are seven weeks, each ending in a Sabbath!

"…while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb; and she saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb" (v 1). You know the rest of the story.

Verse 14—after she asked the two angels where they took Him: "And after saying these things, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?' Thinking that He was the gardener, she said to Him, 'Sir, if you have carried Him off, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.' Jesus said to her, 'Mary.' Turning around, she said to Him, 'Rabboni'; that is to say, 'Teacher.' Jesus said to her, 'Do not touch Me, because I have not yet ascended to My Father….'" (vs 14-17).

He had to ascend to the father on the Wave Sheaf Offering Day, because that's what that particular ceremony of waving the sheaf of the firstfruit—He became the first of the firstfruits—on the first day of counting toward Pentecost. He was the first of the harvest.

"…But go to My brethren and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God" (v 17).

Let's see what happened, v 19: "Afterwards, as evening was drawing near that day… [the day of the weeks—same way, same expression] …the first day of the weeks, and the doors were shut where the disciples had assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, 'Peace be to you.'" He ascended, came back, and after that He said, 'You can touch Me.' Of course, you know that 'Doubting Thomas' was not there.

All the way through where you find the first day, it should be the first day of the weeks. The only exception is 1-Cor. 16.

Acts 20 presents some difficulties to people. It's difficult to follow along, because you have to understand the flow of events. As we go along I'll point out there are three distinct parties. We'll pick them out as we go.

Acts 20:7: "Now, on the first day of the weeks, when the disciples had assembled to break bread, Paul preached to them…"

The problem is v 6: "But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread…"

How can you have the first day of the weeks after the Days of Unleavened Bread, plus another five days? This is where one Church of God got off and said, 'Well, whenever you have the first Holy Day of the Days of Unleavened Bread begin, then the Wave Sheaf Offering is not give until after the seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.' That puts them in a bind!

The Days of Unleavened Bread picture putting sin out. That's why Christ was offered and accepted by God:

  • offered on the Passover
  • three days and three nights in the grave
  • ascended to the Father on the first day of the weeks

That had to be always within the Days of Unleavened Bread. How did this happen in v 6?

Verse 1: "When the tumult was over, Paul called the disciples to him and embraced them; then he… [singular] …left to go into Macedonia. And after passing through those parts and exhorting them with much speaking, he came to Greece. Now, after he had been there for three months, he was going to sail to Syria. But when he learned that the Jews were lying in wait for him, he decided to return through Macedonia…. [follow carefully]: …And these accompanied him as far as Asia…" (vs 1-4). What he did is he left Macedonia, came across to Troas.

Verse 4: "And these accompanied him as far as Asia Sopater, a Berean; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and of Derbe, Gaius and Timothy; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. These went on ahead and waited for us in Troas" (vs 4-5). They left Paul!

Paul was no longer with them. That occurred before the Feast of Unleavened Bread. So, we have two parties:

  • the party that Paul left in Troas (v 4)
  • Paul—the second party

Now the third party, those with Luke. When we read it, v 6: "But we…" that cannot refer to the Apostle Paul. He's not included in that we statement, because Philippi is in Macedonia. Paul already left Macedonia, came to Asia and left those, and they went on into Troas to wait for the others.

Verse 6: "But we… [those with Luke] …sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread; and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days." This would put it maximum 19 days after the first day of the weeks, after the Wave Sheaf Offering Day. What happened? When Paul left them and they went up to Troas, where did Paul go? Paul went down to where he was near Assos, because he gave them instructions to pick him up at Assos. He was there during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He was probably there for the Passover.

Verse 7: "Now, on the first day of the weeks… [Wave Sheaf Offering Day] …when the disciples had assembled to break bread… [have a meal] …Paul preached to them; and because he was going to leave in the morning, he continued speaking until midnight."

You know the story, there were many lamps in the upper room, Paul was speaking on and on, a young man fell asleep and fell from the third loft. Paul went over and said, 'His life is still in him' and he got up, they had some more to eat and Paul preached until the break of dawn and he left and went to Assos.

He stayed there and waited until the party of Luke, who had picked up the party that Paul left, so they were all together in this case. They picked him up at Assos.

Verse 12: "And they brought in the boy alive, and were greatly comforted. Then we… [Luke] …went on ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take in Paul; for he had so appointed, since he himself was going on foot. And after he met with us at Assos and we took him in, we came to Mitylene" (vs 12-14). So, you see the three distinct parties. This helps solve the problem.

1-Corinthians 16 is where a lot of Protestants go to affirm Sunday-keeping. Here we have a distinction where it should be translated first day of the week.

1-Corinthians 16:1: "Now concerning the collection that is being made for the saints: as I directed the Churches in Galatia, so you also are to do. Every first day of the week…" (vs 1-2). This is no church assembly; this is labor, harvest, having nothing to do with collecting money in a plate that is passed around by the deacons.

Verse 2: "Every first day of the week each one is to put aside food at home… [not at church] …storing up whatever he may be prospered in, so that there need not be any collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve in your letters, these are the ones I will send to carry your bounty to Jerusalem" (vs 2-3).

You will see there very carefully that there is no church meeting, there's no passing of the plate, they're working in the field and every first day of the week they would bring in and store up whatever it was that they were going to send to Jerusalem.

If the Christian world would believe what is written and what Jesus said, they should be keeping the Sabbath. They have their own traditional Sunday-keeping, so when they read this—the first day of the weeks—they discounted the pluralness of it. They assumed it to be singular and said that this was justification in the New Testament for Sunday-keeping.

You've seen these little envelopes that they have for giving your tithes or offerings in their churches and it says, 'Every first day of the week…' It's because of a mistranslation. That's been taken care of here in The Holy Bible in It's Original Order, A Faithful Version. One of the things that we have done is correct all of these mistranslations and assumptions and traditions of men.

I hope that helps you to understand the difficulties concerning these things.

(go the next track)

We're going to see that the operation of the Church and what God is doing now is likened to a harvest. Everything associated with a harvest is included in it.

We discussed at the conference about preaching the Gospel, and I've included that in my letter. How does God call new people? I asked all the ministers and leading men at the conference to raise their hands if they've had a day in their life when they cried out to God: 'God, help me!' Every hand went up! How does God help you? Through the seven spirits!

Sometimes we just go along and go 'ho hum' over certain parts of the Scriptures and we really don't understand. Every Word of God is inspired. It says, 'All Scripture is God-breathed.' All means each and every one; nothing extraneous. There is nothing that is not needed. It's all needed!

Revelation 1:4: "John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace and peace be to you from Him Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come; and from the seven spirits that are before His throne." I've given a couple of sermons: Spirit of God/Spirit of Man—Seven Spirits of God. That's very important.

The first thing we need to discount is that 'God's throne is so far off that He doesn't have any care about the earth.' Not so!

Revelation 4:5: "And proceeding from the thronewere lightnings and thunders and voices; and seven lamps of fire, which are the seven Spirits of God, were burning before the throne."

What do the seven spirits do? After John saw the vision of Christ, Revelation 5:6: "Then I saw, and behold, before the throne and the four living creatures, and before the elders, was standing a Lamb ashaving been slain, having seven horns…"

  • Where are horns? Come out of the head!
  • Who is the Head of the Church? Jesus Christ!

Those seven horns must represent the seven churches. Christ is the Head.

"…and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God… [Remember, the salutation comes from Christ and the Father, and the spirits of God] …that are sent into all the earth" (v 6). These are those who are finding those seeking God. How can God know? There are 7-billion people on earth. Do you think that's a problem for God? Not in the least!

Let's just refresh our memories: What was one of the first things that Jesus said in Matt. 7? Seek and you shall find! How are you going to find unless you get an answer? Knock and it shall be opened! Ask and you shall receive!So, how is God going to know? What if you're way out some place and you're all by yourself and you have a terrible, horrible, miserable time? You're finally like the prodigal son. Maybe you're not out feeding swine, but whatever it is you come to yourself! That's something we all have to do, come to ourselves where we say, 'God, help!'

Isaiah 55:1: "Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters… [Spirit of God] …and he who has no money, come, buy and eat.… [How do you buy with no money? With your heart and, mind in repentance!] …Yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread?…. [Who is the true bread? Jesus Christ!] …And your labor for what never satisfies? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Bow down your ear, and come to Me…" (vs 1-3). How are you going to come to God? He's there, available at all times for anyone anywhere!

"…hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David" (v 3). Eternal life! What is the Church called in Acts 15? The tabernacle of David, which was being raised up!

Verse 4: "Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a Prince and Commander of people." So, it goes from David to Who is Christ, the fulfillment of David. Read the genealogy in Matt. 1 and it says, 'The genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of Abraham, the son of David.'

Verse 5: "'Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know; a nation that did not know you shall run to you because of the LORD your God… [talking about the New Testament Church] …and for the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you.' Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near" (vs 5-6). With the seven eyes going around seeking who is seeking God, He's always right there.

Here's the condition, v 7: "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts…" You come to a time that you want to just dump everything that you have done and everything that you are, everything that you have done as a human being—all your sins, messes, all of these things. The world is full of a lot of them out there today—right? Yes, indeed!

"…and let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from the heavens, and does not return there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be which goes out of My mouth…" (vs 7-11). What do we have in Matt. 24 and Luke 13?

  • the Gospel shall be preached in all the world for a witness
  • the Gospel shall be published

The Gospel is contained in the Bible. Currently I've been doing reading of the New Testament and I'm making good progress on it. It's my third time through it.

But Randy—who is going to help us get things organized when it's done—has checked out several sites where they have the whole Bible listed and read that's available for people, whomever wants it. While we were at the conference[transcriber's correction] and mentioned that, Margaret Obey did a search on her iPad and she found that there were 70 pages of websites that had the Bible available, published online.

So, you take all the Bibles in books, take all the printed word, take everywhere there's something concerning the Bible—whether a Sunday-keeping church, whatever—whenever the Word of God is there it's true. If they misinterpret it, that's their problem. Always the Word of God is true. And there are 70 pages of websites that have that in 269 languages, including Arabic.

Verse 11: "So shall My Word be, which goes out of My mouth, it shall not return to Me void…" When God says that He's going to give a witness to the whole world, it's going to be so thorough, and so large, and so huge, and without any controversy whatsoever.

Please, when I'm saying this, don't think that I'm attributing these things to what we do with Christian Biblical Church of God. Our hope and prayer is that all the Churches of God will do what they need to do. But those that are Protestants, as many as would, would repent and do what they need to do; likewise with the Catholics. But nevertheless, we have to do our part.

"…but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall certainly do what I sent it to do" (v 11). This is why when we come along and try and interpret things in ways to suit our own little corporate identity, then we're in great difficulty.

Some people like to liken themselves to Elijah: A great prophet of God. What did God do? He sent him over to Sidon for three years to hide out while there's a drought going on, and Elijah stayed with a widow woman and her son and all they had was flour and oil for three years. God took care of it!

  • You want greatness, how's that?
  • You want notoriety, how's that?

John the Baptist: What happened to him? He had a short ministry and lost his head!

Any candidates for being Elijah or John the Baptist? Don't set yourself up to be some great thing, because God is great and if we glorify God with His Word and what we are to do, that's all God's doing! We don't need to take any credit for it. We need to be like the Apostle Paul:

  • If I preach the Gospel, willingly, I have a reward!
  • If I don't, I have a debt and I must preach it!

Either way, it's going to get done!

Matthew 13—here is how the seven spirits see the world and what is happening. Of course, today there is more going on for the seven spirits to do than at any other time in the history of mankind. Think of that!

Matthew 13:10: "And His disciples came to Him and asked, 'Why do You speak to them in parables?' And He answered and said to them, 'Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven…'" (vs 10-11). How do we know what we understand? Given to us? Revealed to us? Understanding through the Word of God?

Remember, Jesus said, 'The words that I speak to you, they are Spirit and they are Life.' It's given! A great gift to do it! Remember Daniel? He got done with all these fantastic prophecies that he gave there recorded in the book of Daniel, and as an old man he gave the prophecies of the end-time, that many shall 'run to and fro.' Hey! How is that being fulfilled? WOW! Knowledge shall increase. It's going so fast we can't keep up with it.

Then Daniel said, 'Lord, when is this going to be?' He said, 'Daniel, it's not for you to know. You go your way, at the time of the end the wise shall understand and the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand.'

Whatever we have, whatever understanding we have, it all comes from God. And the greatest fatality and mistake of the people in the Church of God is that they idolize men! If we do well, we appreciate any kindness. But if we are serving God, we know that what we did yesterday does not count for anything today, and does not count for anything in the future. Today, while it is today!

"…it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven… [the secrets of God that He has withheld from the rest of the world] …but to them it has not been given" (v 11).

Here is a principle. It is so very important for us to understand, v 12: "For whoever has understanding, to him more shall be given… [But, 'Lord, that's not fair!' God thinks so!] …and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have understanding, even what he has shall be taken away from him." And we have seen that in the Churches of God—have we not? We see it operating in Protestantism and Catholicism again—do we not? Yes, indeed!

Verse 13: "For this reason I speak to them in parables, because seeing, they see not…"

  • Do they all have the Bible? Yes, indeed!
  • Can they read the words? Yes, indeed!
  • Do they believe them? In varying degrees!
  • Do they obey them? No!

Then they wonder why they don't know anything.

"…and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, 'In hearing you shall hear, and in no way understand; and in seeing you shall see, and in no way perceive; for the heart of this people has grown fat, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and should hear with their ears, and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them.'" (vs 13-15). How does that go with the doctrine of the Protestants, that everybody has to be saved? and 'If you don't belong to this church you're going to burn in hell forever'?

Jesus either wants them converted or unconverted. Didn't He say, 'Wish you were hot or cold' to the Laodiceans? Yes, indeed! They're going to be put into the grave for the second resurrection, but for us let's see what happens:

Verse 16: "But blessed are your eyes…"—because God opens their mind, their eyes, gives understanding.

Have you ever gone along and all of a sudden DING! like a little light goes on? or You're studying the Bible and 'Oh, I never knew that'? Who gives that to you? God does! That's the operation of God!

"…because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you…" (vs 16-17). Multiply this out from the time that He was speaking to His disciples back there during His ministry—26A.D.-30A.D.—and put it at the end-time and read it this way:

"…many prophets and righteous men have desired to see what you see, and have not seen…" (v 17). How about Moses? Because of one mistake God said, you're not going in. You can look at it, but you can't go in. He's going to be in the Kingdom of God for sure!

"…and to hear what you hear, and have not heard" (v 17). Then He gives the understanding of the parable: the sower goes out and sows the seed—that's the preaching of the Word. Then you have the category of those who receive it.

Verse 19: "When anyone hears the Word of the Kingdom and does not understand it, the wicked one comes and snatches away that which was sown in his heart. This is the one who was sown by the way. Now the one who was sown upon the rocky places is the one who hears the Word…" (vs 19-20). But he doesn't last.

Verse 22: "And the one who was sown among the thorns is the one who hears the Word, but the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful. But the one who was sown on good ground, this is the one who hears the Word and understands, who indeed brings forth fruit and produces—one a hundred-fold, another sixty-fold and another thirty-fold" (vs 22-23).

Then all the other parables that we have here. Very interesting when we come to the parable of the tares. God said, 'Leave them alone until the harvest. Sometimes there are upheavals that get rid of the tares. There are two ways that tares leave:

  • the harvest at the end when that's going to be accomplished

But what about between the time that Jesus spoke and the end? It happens this way:

  • they leave!

Also, you have an example of Paul. What happened when he went in and spoke in the synagogues and caused a riot. Nearly every place he went to speak in the synagogue he caused great division. The unbelievers left and went by themselves. We've seen that happen. How did the tares go? Well, if it gets too uncomfortable they leave of their own accord!

1-John 2:18 applies two ways:

  • the time of the Apostle John, when he was writing this
  • as a prophecy to our day

1-John 2:18: "Little children, it is the last time; and just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming… [and we see him coming, coming, coming—don't we?] …even now many antichrists have risen up, by which we know that it is the last time. They went out from among us, but they were not of us, because if they were of us they would have remained with us; nevertheless, they left that they might be exposed to show that they all were not of us" (vs 18-19). He talks about the antichrist here.

Stop and think for a minute what an opportunity for Satan the devil when John died. What was the rumor because of what Jesus told Peter after He asked Peter three times, 'Do you love Me?' Peter finally got the point—not quite! He saw John, he said, 'Lord, what's going to happen to him?' Jesus said, 'What is it to you if I desire that he remain until I come. You follow Me.'

The rumor went out that Christ was going to return before John died. The only way that happened was the vision of the book of Revelation. Think of the opportunity for Satan the devil when He died. How many brethren said, 'Can't be true!'

Let's use a modern day example: Where were we to go in January 1972? To a place of safety! How many people left the Church because of that? How many did it cut into their faith and belief because they were looking to a man? I remember a the auditorium in Pasadena that the leader of the Church said, 'Brethren, next week we may be going to Petra, and we may not.' Some of you were in the Church at that time. It didn't happen! The angels didn't come and take us! No one mailed us airplane tickets so we could get there! Petra was closed off to foreigners! 'But the leader was not wrong because we got ads in Reader's Digest.' That was the big event that replaced fleeing to Petra.

Good lesson! Don't ever get caught up in thinking you know everything! We only know what we know and we have to walk by faith. So, the tares are eliminated that way.

We're going to see some interesting things in the book of Revelation. The rest of Rev. 1 is the description of Christ; He is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega. I think we need to just really grasp the understanding of how the Word of God is really going to be fulfilled to the nth degree. I mean, just look! It blew my mind away when Margaret said that she found 70 pages of websites that go around the world that have the Bible on it that is read. You can download it and you can hear it. Then add to that the 6-1/2-billion printed Bibles that are in the world, plus all the Bibles that people have on their iPads, iPhones and whatever screen notebook that they have. It's there! One time I did a count of how many Bibles that we have in our house. We're up to pretty close to 50. Do I have any excuse? That's like 50 witnesses coming to court!

Revelation 2 & 3 are very important for us. If you want an interesting comparison, the way that this comes along is, what was the first thing that Jesus answered when the apostles said—after He told them the temple was going to be destroyed and not one stone upon another…. It's like standing today and looking at the Empire State Building and saying that one day this is all going to collapse to the ground—nothing left. 'Lord, when shall this be?' He said, 'Be on guard that no one deceive you.' First thing!

Let's follow through the seven churches (Rev. 2 & 3). We'll do a little survey and we will see that their problems began when they disregarded Jesus' first warning: Do not let anyone deceive you!

This is a message from Jesus Christ to the Churches. Of course, it has three applications:

  • the seven literal churches during the time which John wrote this in the first century
  • the prophetic projection of the Churches of God down through history

Do you think God would give prophecies concerning the major nations of the world and forget His Church? No siree!

  • the churches at the end-time

Today, as God looks down on the earth, He sees it in these seven categories that we have here. It's not restricted to any one corporation. God does not divide it down. He doesn't look into the doing business as a section in every place in the world and find out what the name of a church is. He judges them according to the way that He sees them. This is a personal message from God. We can learn from every single one of these.

Church of Ephesus:

Revelation 2:1: "To the angel of the Ephesian church, write: These things says He Who holds the seven stars in His right hand, Who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands. I know your works, and your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot bear those who are evil; and that you did test those who proclaim themselves to be apostles, but are not, and did find them liars; and that you have borne much and have endured, and for My name's sake have labored and have not grown weary; nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love" (vs 1-4).

When do you suppose that took place? I think the first phase of it was with the destruction of Jerusalem! I think the second phase of it was with the death of the Apostle John! So, He tells them to repent! They did have one thing, they hated the work of the Nicolaitans.

The Church of Smyrna:

Very few people put up a sign: The Church of Smyrna. Why? Because they were martyred! Come join our church and lose your head! We'll help you into the Kingdom of God.

Verse 9: "I know your works and tribulation and poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who declare themselves to be Jews… [true Christians] …and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan." We find that also with the Church of Philadelphia.

How many saw Weinstein on the news. Weinstein is an atheist working for the government to get rid of Christianity in the military and working to get rid of Christianity anywhere it exists. Do you suppose that with that name he is a Jew? Yes! And he is an atheist! How is that for the synagogue of Satan? Pretty good, wouldn't you say? Yes, indeed!

Verse 10: "Do not fear any of the things that you are about to suffer…. I will give you a crown of life."

Notice that in every case it says, v 7: "The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches…."

Verse 11: "The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches…." It applies to all the churches.

Smyrna was not deceived by the synagogue of Satan, they were executed!

Church of Pergamos:

This church becomes a real problem. Here's a perfect example of: You do not take the methods of the world and incorporate them into the Church of God! There are a lot of things in the world that really work in the world, but that doesn't mean that it works in the Churches of God! What were they?

Verse 12: "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos, write: These things says He Who has the sharp two-edged sword"—the Word of God! He's warning them, 'I'm going to apply My Word to you, so listen up!'

Verse 13: "I know your works and where you dwell, where the throne of Satan is…" If you live in Las Vegas how much does that affect you? An awful lot—doesn't it? In the city of Pergamos there was a throne and temple to Zeus. That affected them! Here's what they did: They were faithful as long as Antipas was faithful.

Verse 13: "I know your works and where you dwell, where the throne of Satan is; but you are holding fast My name, and did not deny My faith, even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you because you have there those who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication" (vs 13-14).

What was the first warning that Jesus gave? Do not let anyone deceive you, for many shall come in My name, saying I am the Christ! They did not heed that warning. The Church at Ephesus softened and lost their first love. Notice what Jesus Christ is going to do Pergamos, because they have the doctrine of the Nicolaitans that is over-lordship of the brethren, which God says He hates.

Verse 16: "Repent! For if you do not repent, I will come to you quickly, and will make war against them with the sword of My mouth." Imagine Christ fighting His own church! The Jews couldn't believe it when God let them know that Nebuchadnezzar, coming against Jerusalem to destroy it, was God's servant. How could God do that? 'Uncircumcised blankety-blank'? Because you're worshiping all the idols in Babylon! They didn't listen, so He warns the whole church.

Church of Thyatira:

They didn't learn much. I believe that Jezebel here is a type of Catholic Church today. How many churches have fallen for the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church? Look at the Sunday-keeping Protestants, getting more and more into Catholicism. I got a letter from a woman who said that she went to her Methodist Church where her mother went for years and years and she went home to bury her, and they were doing the reciting like the Catholics.

This got so bad, seduced the servants, let no one deceive you 'by any means,' Paul said. Verse 23: "And I will kill her children with death…"—the second death. If you kill them are they dead? Can you kill somebody without death? Did you shoot him? Yes, but I didn't kill him! Why is he dead? That has to be the second death!

"…and all the churches shall know that I am He Who searches the reins and hearts; and I will give to each of you according to your works….and who have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will not cast upon you any other burden" (vs 23-24).

Verse 26: "And to the one who overcomes, and keeps My works unto the end… [the works of Christ] …I will give authority over the nations."

Then we have the last three Churches:

  • Church of Sardis—corpse with a pulse
  • Church of Philadelphia—faithful to the Word of God; resisted the synagogue of Satan
  • Church of Laodicea—so overwhelmed with all the good things that they have done that they become lukewarm.

Let's stop with this overview and ask some questions: We saw in Matt. 13 that it's likened to a harvest. When you go back to Lev. 23:

  • How many weeks of harvest are there? Seven!
  • How many churches are there here? Seven!

The work of the Church from when Christ started it until the beginning of the Tribulation, that's the work of the Churches. But there is one more day. You had seven weeks until the day after the seventh week. That brings us to Pentecost.

Tomorrow you all come back for the rest of the story!

Scriptural References:

  • Numbers 9:1-2
  • Leviticus 23:4-5
  • Numbers 9:3-11
  • Matthew 28:18-20
  • Leviticus 23:9-11, 15-17
  • Matthew 13:33
  • John 20:1, 14-17, 19
  • Acts 20:7, 6, 1-7, 12-14
  • 1 Corinthians 16:1-3
  • Revelation 1:4
  • Revelation 4:5
  • Revelation 5:6
  • Isaiah 55:1-11
  • Matthew 13:10-17, 19-20, 22-23
  • 1 John 2:18-19
  • Revelation 2:1-4, 9-10, 7, 11-14, 16, 23-24, 26

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Ezra 6
  • Exodus 12
  • Joshua 5
  • Matthew 7
  • Acts 15
  • Matthew 1; 24
  • Luke 13
  • Revelation 3

Also referenced:

Books:

  • The Comprehensive Calculated Hebrew Calendar by Arthur Spier (amazon.com)
  • The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter

Sermon Series: Spirit of God/Spirit of Man—Seven
Spirits of God

FRC:bo
Transcribed: 6-10-13

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