The harvest of those who are going to represent the Church of the Firstborn

Fred R. Coulter—June 3, 2017

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Greetings, everyone! Welcome to Day 49, the Sabbath before Pentecost, and Pentecost is the premier day for all the brethren down through time and history. As we will see tomorrow, that pictures the first resurrection!

Remember what was the important thing on the day portion of the Passover, which we covered, and that was the firstborn. We're going to look at the emphasis that God had for the children of Israel, and let's see what they did when they came to Mt. Sinai. They had traveled all the way, after crossing the Red Sea and stopping at various places along the line, and they came to Mt. Sinai:

Exodus 19:1: "In the third month when the children of Israel had gone forth out of the land of Egypt, on the same day…"—of the week, not the same day of the month. This means that this was a Thursday, and this becomes important for us to understand in relationship to what happened here in Exodus 20.

"…they came to the wilderness of Sinai; for they had journeyed from Rephidim, and came to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness. And Israel camped there in front of the mount. And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, 'Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the children of Israel, "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you unto Myself. Now, therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed…"'" (vs 1-5).

"…obey My voice…" we all know is the most important thing that God wants, and the most important commandment of all is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and being. Everything else flows from that. Everything else flows from the Ten Commandments. But if you have commandment-keeping only, without the love of God, then everything becomes militaristic, authoritative and letter of the law.

However, God had a special mission for the children of Israel for the rest of the world. Like everything else that God does, He doesn't tell you everything all at once. There's a reason for it, and the reason is that He wants to know: will you obey His voice!

"'"…and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a Holy nation."….'" (vs 5-6)).

What were they to do? They were take the Word of God to the rest of the nations of the world! Had they done that, the world would have been a much better place. But look at the world today, how bad it is today, even with the knowledge of God that there is.

"'…These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel'" (v 6). This is like a proposal of marriage. Will you marry me? Yes! All the rest of the details—good, bad and ugly—all come later.

Verse 7: "And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words, which the LORD commanded him…. [they went and told the people and the answer came back]: …And all the people answered together and said, 'All… [when you promise God something, He wants you to mean it] …that the LORD has spoken we will do.' And Moses returned the words of the people to the LORD. And the LORD said to Moses, 'Lo, I come to you in a thick cloud that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever.' And Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. And the LORD said to Moses, 'Go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow… [that's Friday and Sabbath] …and let them wash their clothes. And be ready for the third day… [which became the Day of Pentecost] …for on the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai. And you shall set bounds for the people round about, saying…'" (vs 7-12).

They were to block it off, animals were not to come up there, no people were to come up there—no one get close—because this was going to be a spectacular event!

Verse 13: "There shall not be a hand to touch it, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through with an arrow; whether beast or man, it shall not live. 'When the trumpet sounds long…'"—that's loud. I want you to understand something very important here: it is the trumpet, this for the Day of Pentecost. Remember that the book of Numbers says that on every Holy Day they are to blow the silver trumpets.

The Feast of Pentecost, as we will see tomorrow, is the Feast for the resurrection, and the trumpet is blown. So, we have a type of it here and we will see many types as we go through this.

Verse 15: "And he said to the people, 'Be ready for the third day. Do not approach a woman.' And it came to pass on the third day in the morning that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain. And the sound of the trumpet was exceedingly loud so that all the people in the camp trembled" (vs 15-16). God was showing His awesome ability and frightful power to the people, that they would remember this and tell their children. This is quite an event.

The only time that this many people heart the voice of God was on that Day of Pentecost. We're going to see some things important and this is why I'm starting here before we get to Lev. 23.

Verse 17: "And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God. And they stood at the base of the mountain. And Mount Sinai was smoking, all of it because the LORD came down upon it in fire. And the smoke of it went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly" (vs 17-18). The very power of God being there!

He couldn't come in the fullness of His glory, otherwise that would have destroyed everything. Remember what God told Moses later in Exo. 33:20[transcriber's correction], No man can look upon My face and live! That's how much power that God has just in His Being.

Verse 19: "And when the sound of the trumpet sounded long, and became very strong, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. And the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. And the LORD said to Moses, 'Go down. Command the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. And let the priests also, who come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.' And Moses said to the LORD, 'The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You commanded us, saying, "Set bounds around the mountain, and sanctify it."' And the LORD said to him, 'Away! Get you down, and only you shall come up, you and Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, lest He break forth upon them.' And Moses went down to the people, and spoke to them" (vs 19-25).

Then God gave the Ten Commandments!

An interesting sidelight here: I got an e-mail from a woman who had her 13-year-old granddaughter over and in the house there was a plague of the Ten Commandments. The granddaughter asked her: 'Grandma, what are those?' She just about fell over! She couldn't believe that her 13-year-old granddaughter never heard of the Ten Commandments of God! That's something!

Well, we're arriving at here today! What is filling in the vacuum? Satanism!

After the Ten Commandments were spoken, Exodus 20:18: "And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking. And when the people saw, they trembled and stood afar off. And they said to Moses, 'You speak with us, and we will hear. But let not God speak with us, lest we die'" (vs 18-19). After God spoke to Moses, he told them. Then we find:

Deut.5 is the parallel account, and God said that the people were well intentioned when they said, "Moses, you speak to us and we will listen, but let God speak to you and not us.' Then God gave them some instructions about making no gods (Exo. 20:23 23) and not making and altar, and if they did make an altar:

Verse 24: "You shall make an altar of earth to Me… [v 25: "And if you will make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of cut stone… [but of the earth] …for if you lift up your tool upon it, you have defiled it" (vs 24-25).

Then Moses went back up to God and He gave Moses Exo. 21-23; all of these are the subdivision of how the Ten Commandments are applied, with various other instruction that is in there, as well.

Also, here's what you need to understand. Some people say that 'we don't have to keep the Ten Commandment because they were not given at the same time.' Well, that's incorrect!

Exodus 23:14: "You shall keep a Feast unto Me three times in the year. You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. You shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And no one shall appear before Me empty. Also, the Feast of the Harvest of the Firstfruits of your labors… [Pentecost] …which you have sown in the field. And the Feast of Ingathering, in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field…. [Feast of Tabernacles] …Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD (vs 14-17).

After giving all of these instructions (I'll leave it up to you to read all of them) and you will find with these that they are judgments or ordinances that define what to do when certain violations of the Law have taken place. Just like you have judgments, statutes and ordinances in the land where you live, although they're not based on the Ten Commandments.

Exo. 24 is a very special chapter, and we're going to go through it because this becomes important and helps us see what we talk about in the New Testament about the Sea of Glass and also the confirming of the covenant. Parts of the covenant began with the Passover. But the formalization of the covenant occurred on Pentecost when all the Laws of God were given.

This is important so that we understand how God thinks, what He wants us to do, what is important to Him, in our behavior and what we do, and we'll see it right here:

Deuteronomy 6:1: "Now, these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments which the LORD our God commanded to teach you so that you might do them in the land where you go to possess it, that you might fear the LORD your God…" (vs 1-2).

That means to hold God in awe, and also fear Him for He has the power of life and death.

"…to keep all… [when God says all, that means each and every one] …His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you, and your son, and your son's son, all the days of your life, and so that your days may be prolonged" (v 2).

There's a benefit for commandment-keeping. However, all commandment-keeping is based upon v 3, and God uses this phrase quite often:

Verse 3: "Hear therefore, O Israel, and be diligent to observe it, so that it may be well with you, and that you may greatly multiply, as the LORD God of our fathers has promised you, in the land that flows with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel…." (vs 3-4).

God is talking directly to the people. Here's what God wants, and what He wants with His commandments, statutes and judgments. This is what He wants with the New Testament.

"…Our one God is the LORD, the LORD. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart. And you shall diligently teach them to your children…" (vs 4-7).

Sidebar: Look at what has happened when they're not taught? We have a bunch of 20-year-olds who have been educated to about the level of 13 years, so their minds and emotions have not been developed and they're very deficient. This is why you see at the colleges that they don't want to hear anything except what they want to believe. That is very childish behavior. But this is a result of a Godless education, instead of teaching them God's way based upon loving Him!

Jesus made it very clear that all the Law and the Prophets hang on loving God and loving your neighbor (Matt. 22).

Let's see what occurred in Exo. 24, because this is the finalizing of the covenant and the sealing of the marriage between Israel and God.

Exodus 24:1: "And He said to Moses, 'Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship afar off.'"

Sidebar: What we will understand is that they saw God! They heard His voice! So, the God of the Old Testament was not God the Father. When Jesus came, one of His purposes was to reveal the God the Father to those that He would call.

Verse 2: "'And Moses alone shall come near the LORD, but they shall not come near. Neither shall the people go up with him.' And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments.…" Here again everything in Exo. 21-23.

"…And all the people answered with one voice and said, 'All the words which the LORD has said, we will do' (v 2).

  • Will you marry Me? Yes!
  • Here are terms and condition, will you do it? Yes!

There we have it, right there!

Today all marriages never work out as we think they're going to work out before we're married. So likewise, was it was with the children of Israel. Everything didn't work out because they said they would obey. They had to obey and love God. So, everything that works out in a marriage between husband and wife is to love each other, serve each other and to love your family and teach your children.

Notice what Moses did. This is why when Judaism says, 'Well now, we have the traditions of the elders, which God spoke to Moses, and this was passed down by word of mouth, tradition. Not so! That is a lie! Judaism, as a religion of traditions, is based upon the foundation of a lie! God never spoke oral tradition to be kept!

Everything He had was written down. Everything He wanted the people to obey was in writing. Moses wrote it! The Ten Commandments were written on the tablets of stone. The original ones were broken by Moses because the children of Israel sinned by making a golden calf and had what you might call a pagan orgy around the golden calf.

So, God had Moses make two more slates/tablets of stone and then God wrote on those, as well.

Verse 4: "And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar at the base of the mountain and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel who offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of bullocks to the LORD" (vs 4-5).

Notice this, because no covenant is sealed without sacrifice and without blood:

Verse 6: "And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins, and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the Book of the Covenant, and read in the ears of the people. And they said, 'All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient'" (vs 6-7).

Very interesting! Remember: What you tell God, He's going to take you up on it! Let's see what else happened:

Verse 8: "And Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, 'Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you concerning all these words.' And Moses went up, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. And they saw the God of Israel…. [that's the One Who became Jesus Christ] …And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone…" (vs 8-10).

What is that? A Sea of Glass! Very important to remember, because when we are resurrected we'll be on a Sea of Glass, only we'll all be there, not just Moses.

"…and as it were the heavens in clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay his hands. Also they saw God, and ate and drank" (vs 10-11)—and that was from the offerings of the animals.

Verse 12: "And the LORD said to Moses, 'Come up to Me in the mountain, and be there. And I will give you tablets of stone, and the law, and commandments which I have written, so that you may teach them.'" That's why we have the Old Testament and the New Testament in writing!

That's why there are so many Bibles in the world, because God wants every person to have had the witness of receiving the Word of God, whether they read it or not is up to them.

Verse 13: "And Moses rose up, and his attendant Joshua. And Moses went up into the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, 'You wait here for us until we come again to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a cause, let him come to them.' And Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain" (vs 13-15).

Verse 18: "And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and went up into the mountain. And Moses was in the mountain forty days and forty nights." After the covenant was made God gave them:

  • instructions for the tabernacle
  • instructions for all the instruments and implements
  • instructions for every part of the work of the priesthood
  • instructions for the altar
  • instructions for the Ark of the Covenant

He did all of this for a very special reason:

Exodus 25:8: "And let them make Me a sanctuary so that I may dwell among them." God would put His presence in the Holy of Holies. His presence was there all during the 40 years of the Exodus: the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. So, God wanted to be there with His people. Think of what it would have been like if the children of Israel only obeyed God. The world would be a different place!

Let's look at some instructions on how to get to Pentecost and on what day it really is, and let's look at these instructions quite thoroughly, because this is important to understand. This is the longest commandment for any Holy Day, and we need to look at from that point of view, and how important that was.

We will find, just as we did after the Passover, the firstborn, the firstfruits, all of those are important to God. And we will see when we get to the New Testament that Jesus was the firstborn of Mary and the Firstborn from among the dead. God told he children of Israel to bring the firstborn and dedicate them to Him, all the males. All the females would go to the Festival fund for themselves, which they would offer when they came to the temple area and they could eat of that. But all the males belonged to God, and that went to the priesthood and the Levites.

Now let's see what He asked them to do, and this becomes important because everything starts with Christ, just like everything in the Old Testament began with God; likewise in the New Testament everything begins with Christ. But here we have a ritual of the Wave Sheaf Offering, which was a foretelling of the fulfillment of the resurrection of Christ and ascending to the Father. Very important to understand.

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 could not carry this out until they entered into the land, which was 40 years later.

"…which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest of it…" (v 10). It is important to understand that phrasing.

  • When did they enter the 'promised land'? They entered it just before the Passover, in the spring of the year!
  • Where did that take place? In Jericho!

Jericho was belong sea level, and was noted to have the grain ripe first of all because of being below sea level, and being in the valley they had the sun and all of the grain would ripen first there.

Also when they came in there, the crop had been planted the fall before. So, it doesn't say 'when you reap your harvest,' He says when you "…shall reap the harvest of it…"

There are some who say that they really couldn't keep the Wave Sheaf Offering the first year or the Passover the first year, because 'the grain was planted by the heathen and thus it was not Holy and thus it would be contaminated.' Pray tell:

What happens to grain when you plant it? It disintegrates and rots into the ground as the plant grows! That is new and has nothing to do with contaminated hands to plant it. A teaching of a man to add on, which God says, 'Don't do!'

"…then you shall bring the premier sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest" (v 10). I became their harvest—not that they planted it—because God gave it to them! You bring it to the priest.

Verse 11: "And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD to be accepted for you…."—all the children of Israel; this is important to understand, as well. This is the day that Christ ascended to the Father and was accepted as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world, but beginning with the Church.

Notice the wording, because in translating the Bible we made this explicitly clear. Why? Because there are some people who miscount! When you number or count, you can't skip a day, so we translated this correctly:

"…On the next day after the Sabbath…" (v 11). All Holy Days are called 'Shabbat'—Sabbath; but the Sabbath is called 'ha Shabbat' meaning the seventh day of the week. This was to be on the next day after the seventh day of the week during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, or the first day of the week during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. That's when this was to be waved.

"…the priest shall wave it. And you shall offer that day… [this is a particular offering] …when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering to the LORD. And its grain offering shall be two tenth parts of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD for a sweet savor. And the drink offering of it shall be of wine, the fourth part of a hin. And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched grain, nor green ears until the same day, until you have brought an offering to your God. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings" (vs 11-14).

What did they eat during the 40 years? Manna! I'm sure that they celebrated Pentecost, but they could not do this Wave Sheaf Offering until they got into the land when they had the grain. Very important to keep in mind.

Furthermore, when the harvest began, it began after the Wave Sheaf Offering. That signaled the start of it. In The Christian Passover book we have a very important chapter on the Wave Sheaf Offering,so you can read it there.

There are some people—still a few—who keep Pentecost on a Monday. That's completely incorrect. It was a mistake of the large Church of God because they misunderstood what was happening. But let's stop and think about this for a minute after we read it:

Verse 15: "And you shall count to you beginning with the next day after the Sabbath, beginning with…"—inclusive counting; so the next day after the Sabbath is day one. Why is that important? Because that day pictures Christ ascending to the Father! So then, if you do not begin your count until Monday as the first day, then it's not the next day after the Sabbath! It's the next day after the first day of the week. It doesn't say that here.

The next day after the Sabbath is day one, beginning with "…the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete" (v 15).

That means a week of seven days, each one ending in a Sabbath. Stop and think for a minute! If you start on Monday, you cannot have a complete week of seven days. You have seven days, but a broken week, because you count:

  • Sabbath as 6
  • Sunday as 7
  • Monday as 8

And eight goes back to one! I hope you understand that. "…seven Sabbaths shall be complete" (v 15).

Verse 16: "Even unto the day after the seventh Sabbath you shall number fifty days…." When was Monday the day after a Sabbath? Nowhere in the history of the world could that be true! That's how far off that was.

To keep Pentecost on a Monday is the wrong day, because you have to count with, even if—like in the King James Version, and this is the problem, I says, 'count from.' So, it was assumed that you go to the next day, because the Wave Sheaf Offering was on Sunday, you go to the next day on Monday and you count beginning with that day.

  • If you work from Monday to Friday, do you get paid for five days? Yes, you do!
  • What if your boss said that he counted a little differently, from means beginning the next day, so I'm going pay you for Tues.-Fri., four days?

'But I worked five days.' Doesn't make any difference, that's how I count!

  • Would you accept that? Of course not!

There's a lot to the instructions that we need to cover here.

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Leviticus 23:17 talks about that they were to bring these two wave loaves and they were to made with leaven. I'll cover that tomorrow. Also, all the sacrifices that were given here picture everything having to do with a type of the Church with the offerings and Christ and so forth."

We will see about the harvest (Mark 4), and the harvest—Pentecost—pictures the completion of the harvest. Just like it was that the children of Israel arrived at Sinai, then on Pentecost they received the Ten Commandments. Completion!

Likewise, we're going to see that the harvest—the seven weeks—pictures all the time from the day Jesus ascended into heaven, which was the first day of the week. He was raised at the end of the Sabbath, ascended to the Father the morning of the first day of the week. That's why counting Pentecost does not begin with the Holy Day as the Jews do. It was on the first day of the week, and He appeared to His disciples.

  • Was He alive from the dead? Yes, He was!
  • Is that day to be counted? Yes, indeed!

And the 50 days after that ended up with the receiving of the Holy Spirit. So, these seven complete weeks pictures the time from Jesus being accepted as a sacrifice for the sin of the world, and the completion of the age and the resurrection of the firstborn, the firstfruits; we're referred to as both.

Here we have the parable of the sower, and He explains the sowing, where the seed went:

Mark 4:10: "Now, when He was alone, those who were around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, 'To you it has been given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God; but to those who are without, all things are done in parables'" (vs 10-11).

The firstfruits are not the harvest of everything that there is, just the grain! After that, all the fruit of the land comes in. So, we're likened to grain and to a new lump, unleavened; all of that ties together.

Verse 12: "So that in seeing they may see, and not perceive; and in hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them." God does not grant repentance to the world:

  • only to those who seek God
  • only to those who are willing to obey His voice
  • only those whom God is drawing
  • only those who are chosen

Jesus did not come to save the world then, He came to build His Church, as He said, 'I will build My Church and the gates of the grave shall never prevail against it' 9Mat. 16). He is the Head of the Church.

Verse 13: "And He said to them, 'Don't you understand this parable? Then how will you know all the other parables? The sower sows the Word. Now the ones by the way, where the Word was sown, these are the ones who hear, but Satan comes at once and takes away the Word that was sown in their hearts" (vs 13-15).

Christ is the Sower, He sows the seed and He's given the Word of God. We are to preach it! We are used as instruments to spread to help spread the Word of God. God has many other instruments that He has used down through time.

Verse 16: "And the ones which were in like manner sown upon the rocky places, these are the ones who when they hear the Word, immediately receive it with joy." Oh, that's wonderful! Oh that's great!

Verse 17: "But because they have no root in themselves…" We have got to have roots; that means that you are grounded in the Truth of God!

"…they do not endure; when tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word, they are quickly offended…. [they give up] …And those which were sown among the thorns, these are the ones who hear the Word, but the cares of this life, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things that come into their lives choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful" (vs 17-19).

That sure applies to today—doesn't it? Yes, indeed! Read these two booklets:

  • Why is "Christianity" Failing in America? By Philip Neal
  • The Collapse of Anglican Christianity by Philip Neal

Both are in dire conditions. And you need to look at the Churches of God, as well. We need to be:

  • rich in the Spirit of God
  • rich in the love of God
  • rich in the Truth of God

Not in the physical things around. Are we Laodiceans or not. Yes, we have more than anybody else. Don't set your heart on it. "…the lusts of other things that come into their lives choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful" (v 19).

Verse 20: "Now, those which were sown upon the good ground, these are the ones who hear the Word and receive it, and bring forth fruit, one thirtyfold, and one sixtyfold, and one a hundredfold." That's likened to the Churches—seven weeks of harvest.

In the book of Acts Jesus appeared to the disciples for 40 days and 40 nights proving and showing that He was the resurrected Christ, showing everything that they had to be taught at that time. Think of the great joy and everything that they had, and the enthusiasm and ready to go out and really work. They were all excited and asked the Lord just before He ascended into heaven on the 40th day for the last time, on the first day of counting to Pentecost He ascended and came back that same day. But on the 40th day He ascended into heaven and did not come back.

He told the disciples to go into Jerusalem and wait there until you receive power from on high. They didn't know that that was going to happen on Pentecost, but they were there keeping the Feast.

Also, before Pentecost they selected one to replace Judas who had fallen, and they did it by lot because God is the One Who made the choice and it fell on Mathias. Remember they drew lots and asked, 'Which one, Lord?' God made the choice!

One other thing, Jesus also told them that it wasn't for them to know the time or the authority that God had placed in His hands about setting up the Kingdom of God on earth. But they were also to go and preach 'unto the ends of the earth.' They didn't get there, but the Word of God has gotten there. With all the things that we have with audio, satellites, video, radio, all of that the Word of God is going to get to every nook and cranny of this earth:

  • the words of the apostles
  • the teachings of Christ
  • the whole Old Testament
  • all of the Prophets

It's going to be there!

Now today, they're rapidly getting more and more digital copies of the Bible with APPs on smart phones. Who would have ever thought that that was going to be how God was going to get it to everyone? Now you don't have a Bible just on library shelves in office or den, or alongside your bed, you can have it on your smart phone and have it with you all the time. Now you can listen to at any time you want.

By the way The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version is in APP form for the smart phones: go to afaithfulversion.org, and that will show you how to receive the Bible on your phone, and you will have it with you all the time. How's that for getting the Word of God out for a witness; that God would send that kind of technology to the world. It's not just what we're doing, but it's what God is doing on a vast scale in the world.

Acts 2 was a special Pentecost. Think on this: Jesus had His ministry 3-1/2 years. Don't you think those who came to the Feast out of the Diaspora with the Jews went back and told people what was happening? Told them about Jesus? Don't you think that there were a lot of them who came after they had heard that He was crucified, but that they couldn't find the body? Where did His body go? He must have been raised from the dead!

Think of the anticipation of the people coming to Pentecost for this Holy Day, and there were those whom God had prepared to receive the Truth of the very first powerful message by the Apostle Peter and the other apostles there on that Day of Pentecost. God started it as His temple, because that's where He placed His name.

Not only that, He gave great signs and wonders with the power of the Holy Spirit. So, we have right here on Mt. Zion—and that's where the temple was, just north of Mt. Zion—where God placed His name.

A parallel type was when they came to Mt. Sinai. They received the Law. Now coming to Jerusalem, if they repented they could receive the Holy Spirit, which then gives them the power to love God and keep the commandments in the spirit, not just in the letter.

Also, remember that at this time there were Jews and proselytes, but there were no Gentiles at the temple. They could come to the temple if they were circumcised and stayed in the section designated for them.

Now then, let's see what happened on this day, Acts 2:1: "And when the Day of Pentecost, the fiftieth day, was being fulfilled…"

Sidebar: That is a special phrase in the Greek: an articular—meaning having an article—infinitive, passive; meaning when the Day of Pentecost "…was being fulfilled…" What does it mean to be fulfilled? People come to the temple area and are there on that day, fulfilling the command of God concerning Pentecost!

"…they were all with one accord in the same place" (v 1). There were different rooms that were in the area of the temple and they were on Solomon's Porch. This is where the disciples would come and go.

Verse 2: "And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like the rushing of a powerful wind…" A type of the wind and trumpet and everything back at Mt. Sinai.

What did they blow on the Day of Pentecost at the third hour? The trumpet! Consider this: Here are the Levites blowing the trumpet and the Holy Spirit comes and the power comes like a mighty rushing wind and the whole temple area, filled with thousands and thousands of Jews… Remember, God promised 'the tents of Judah would receive salvation first.' Here God fulfilled that in type, and when Christ returns a second time He's going to fulfill it to the maximum!

This is what happened there; you know the rest of it, I won't go any further into it here. We'll cover that tomorrow. I want to come forward now to the book of Revelation to see some very interesting things indeed.

Rev. 1 sets the stage; Jesus announcing that He's the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the One Who was dead, but now lives forever.

John saw Him in his glorified form! Also, John was told to write. Everything that God wants for other people He wants it written down. We know that He inspires the writing, because Peter said that 'Holy men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit to record the words of God.' So, we have the same thing here.

  • Was the Apostle John a Holy man of God? Yes!
  • Did he write the words of God? Yes!
  • Were the apostles Holy men of God?
  • Did they write the words of God? Yes!

They wrote the whole New Testament!

Another thing: the theologians and all of the 'learned' people who say it was all by word of mouth for 200-300 years, so 'how can we depend on anything in the Bible?' No! God doesn't work that way. He doesn't do it by oral tradition. He does it by having it written, and they started writing the New Testament at the time that Jesus was preaching. Read some of the words that are there, and you go online to truthofgod.org and you download the sermon on the scribes of Jesus—Jesus' Stenographers. They were writing things as He was speaking! Then they compiled it together. I mean, it's an amazing thing.

So, Jesus told John to write! How could the book of Revelation ever be preserved correctly with oral tradition only? It's so complicated and it sits as the seventh division of the seven divisions of the Bible, and you need the rest of all of the Prophets to interpret the things in the book of Revelation. So, the book of Revelation unlocks all of the prophecies.

Jesus said to John, Revelation 1:19: "Write the things that you saw, and the things that are…"

  • What are the things that are? The seven churches!
  • Were they in existence? Yes!

"…and the things that shall take place hereafter. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, is this: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; and the seven lampstands that you saw are the seven churches" (vs 19-20).

That's all important for us to understand. Speaking o the things that are, didn't Jesus say "…are the seven churches"? Yes!

Rev. 2—the seven churches match up with the seven weeks of harvest. Now then, this becomes very important because John was Jesus' secretary to write down Jesus' words to the seven churches. What do they represent? The things that are, and the things that will take place hereafter! So, the seven churches represent three things:

  • the actual churches down through history
  • the epics of the churches
  • at the end all the Churches of God are represented again

From the seven churches come the harvest of those who are going to represent the Church of the firstborn, who now are written in heaven. So, this is just exactly like the parallel of the harvest of the grain, just like it was written there in Mark 4, Matt. 13 and Luke 8 about the sowing of the seed.

We are told in 1-John 3 that we do not practice sin because we have the begettal of the Father, which is the seed or sperma from God! Seed in the Greek is 'sperma.' So, we are begotten! We are told that we are to grow in grace and knowledge. We are to produce fruit!

Now here are Jesus' instructions to the seven churches, beginning with then, down through history and at the end. These are the special messages of Jesus directly spoken to His Church by Him after His resurrection.

Let's look at each one, each one has some things. You will find that there are elements of all of these things within the various Churches of God. No one corporate organization can claim that they are the Philadelphia Church of God. Hardly any of them want to claim any of the others. Why is it that all the different ones want to claim to be the Philadelphians? Because they did not sin! But most of them are anything but the Church of Brotherly Love. Notice the message direct from Christ:

Church at 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'"—like in a circle:

  • Christ is in the midst of them
  • Christ is the Head of the Church
  • Christ is to be in us
  • the Father is to be in us

All of this comes together here.

Verse 12: "I know your works…"

Sidebar—a little Protestant sidebar: If it is 'by faith alone' and 'works don't count,' why does Jesus judge His people by their 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…" It doesn't say were not. There were false apostle then, just like there are now.

"…and did find them liars" (v 2)—which show that we are:

  • to prove all things
  • hold fast to that which is good
  • search the Scriptures whether they are so

Verse 3: "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 3-4).

  • What is the first love? Loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and being!
  • What happens when people lose their first love? They get involved in doing some things that God says, like feeding and clothing the poor and doing things like that.

God says to do that, but that becomes the central focus of what they are doing, rather than growing and developing in character and the love of God.

So, Jesus says—and He says this to five of the Churches; two He doesn't—v 5: "Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works…" He doesn't say to have 'the first faith.' Because if you have the first faith you will do the first works, because the faith and belief will impel you to do it!

"…for if you do not, I will come to you quickly; and I will remove your lampstand out of its place unless you repent" (v 5). Quite strong—isn't it?

Then Christ talks about the Nicolaitans, we'll talk about that when we get to Pergamos, but the Nicolaitans is the hierarchical structure of the ministry.

Then for each one He gives a promise, v 7: "The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches…. [so you have read all seven] …To the one who overcomes…" What are you going to overcome?

  • the Nicolaitans
  • the false prophets
  • losing your first love

I will give the right to eat of the Tree of Life that is in the midst of the paradise of God" (v 7).

Church at Smyrna:

They were persecuted, thrown in jail, had tribulation ten day—which is ten years—and that was shortly after the death of the Apostle John. It was a great persecution against the Church in Smyrna.

Verse 8—Christ says: "…These things says the First and the Last, Who was dead but is alive. 'I know your works and tribulation and poverty (but you are rich)…" (vs 8-9). All the troubles and difficulties, remember what Jesus said: 'Be of good courage, I have overcome the world! In the world you will have tribulation, but in Me you'll have peace!'

"…and the blasphemy of those who declare themselves to be Jews… [true Christians, because that is a way of phrasing it here to point out those who say they are Jews] …and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan" (v 9). The Christianity of this world is not of God! Maybe some of the Protestants are halfway there, but let me ask:

If you need a full tank of gas to get where you're going, how are you going to get there if you only have half a tank? Isn't going to happen! So, then He says.

Verse 10: "…Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life. The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who overcomes… [that's what we need to be doing] …shall not be hurt of the second death" (vs 10-11).

Church at Pergamos:

That was quite a Church! It was right in the city of Pergamos where there was a gigantic altar to Zeus, which then the king of Pergamos transferred to the Roman Empire. The one who sits in that chair today is the successor of the religion of Zeus or Pergamos, and it's in Rome.

What did they have? Christ has things against them because they have, v 15 "…those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans…" How does the Roman Catholic Church run? They say that you can't have salvation outside of anything other than the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.

Then they also have things committing fornication and eating things sacrificed to idols. That has become the Eucharist or the Sacrifice of the Mass.

So severe was this that God will come and correct you, v 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."

Every penalty that comes from rejecting Christ, twisting the Word of God, instituting a hierarchical government within a church, eating things sacrificed to idols and that means instead of taking the Passover, Christ is going to come and the penalty that He has said verbally is going to come.

Then He says, v 17: "The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who overcomes…"

Church at Thyatira:

Many of the Seventh Day Adventists say they come from the Church at Thyatira. Very possibly so. They did great works.

Verse 19: "I know your works, and love, and service, and faith, and your endurance, and your works; and the last are more than the first. But I have a few things against you, because you allow the woman Jezebel…" (vs 19-20).

  • Who was Jezebel? The daughter of the priest of Baal, the sun-god!
  • What is the big sunburst over the throne of the pope in St. Peter's Basilica? A sunburst!
    • I wonder how that got there? It was a big job to get it up there, but they got it there!
    • I wonder what it stands for?

"…who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants into committing fornication and eating things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her fornication, but she did not repent" (vs 20-21).

This is what Jesus is doing all of the time. That's why He has the message to the seven churches. If they don't repent of their works:

Verse 23: And I will kill her children with death…" That sounds like being cast into the Lake of Fire, because if you kill someone, their dead. If you kill them with death, it could be the Lake of Fire.

"…and all the churches shall know… [here's what all of the Churches need to know and to understand, and never forget]: …that I am He Who searches the reins and hearts…" (v 23). As a man thinks in his heart so he is.

  • Is Christ in your heart?
  • Is Christ in your mind?
  • Is the Spirit of the Father directing you?

This is what we need to ask ourselves. We are to examine ourselves. Aren't we told to do that for Passover? Is that the only time we examine ourselves?

  • What are our thoughts?
  • What are our hearts?
  • What will God find if He's testing our reins and hearts?

"…and I will give to each of you according to your works" (v 23).

Notice how bad it got there, v 24: "But to you I say, and to the rest who are in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, and who have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak…" Right into the cauldron of the depths of Satan-worship.

"…I will not cast upon you any other burden, but hold fast what you have until I come. And to the one who overcomes and keeps My works unto the end, I will give authority over the nations" (vs 24-26).

Verse 28: "And I will give him the morning star." He's going to rule with Christ.

Church at Sardis[transcriber's correction]:

Has a name that lives, but is dead. Has a few doctrines. Those are the Churches that very little life, little understanding of the Bible. They have just enough where Jesus said:

Revelation 3:2: "…strengthen the things that remain… [v 5]: …and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life…" Very interesting statements:

  • kill them with death (Rev. 2:23).
  • blot them out of the Book of Life (Rev. 3:5

Church at Philadelphia:

Let me tell you something: You cannot love the brethren the way they should be loved unless you have the love of God in you first! Otherwise it becomes a social club, and that replaces the true assembling together to worship God.

Christ commends this Church, v 8: "I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no one has the power to shut it because you have a little strength, and have kept My Word, and have not denied My name."

  • keeping the Word of God—that's the whole message of Christ!
  • have not denied His name

How do you deny His name? When you start doing things and taking credit to yourself that you have done it by yourself without God!

Verse 9: "Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan…" We run into all of this satanic problem all the way through with everything with the Churches.

Satan is there in every one: false prophets, Satan, synagogue of Satan. Here it is again.

"…who proclaim themselves to be Jews and are not, but do lie. Behold, I will cause them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you" (v 9). Do you see that? That's what's important!

Right where we started in the beginning, the love of God with all your heart, mind, soul and being. When you do that, then you love others and you understand them. Think about that for just a minute. Love the brethren! And that's because you keep the Word of God!

Verse 10: "Because you have kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep you from the time of temptation, which is about to come upon the whole world to try those who dwell on the earth."

That temptation that is coming is the mark of the beast! And shortly after that comes the Tribulation. The temptation is not the Tribulation. The yielding to that temptation results in being in the Tribulation.

Quite a blessing, v 12: "The one who overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall not go out anymore; and I will write upon him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which will come down out of heaven from My God; and I will write upon him My new name. The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (vs 12-13).

What did Jesus tell Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples after she saw Him after He was  resurrected? I'm going to My God, and your God; My Father and your Father! When He says, "…My God…" here, this means the Father, the One we also worship!

Church at Laodicea:

Very interesting! Laodiceans have been beaten up plenty, but let's look at it. They can repent! These are the ones who are almost choked out because of thorns and deceitfulness of riches. They say they are 'rich and increased with goods' and they look to the physical blessing of things that God gives them as an affirmation that they are in right standing with God.

Well, Smyrna didn't have any of that and Jesus said that they were rich spiritually. So, you can't count physical things as an affirmation that you're in right standing with God and that you're loving God. That is what you have to keep developing and growing in your whole life.

Verse 15: "I know your works that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you be either cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and are neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. For you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing"; and you do not understand that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" (vs 15-17). that means spiritually!

So, He says, v 18: "I counsel you to buy from Me gold purified by fire…" Because 1-Cor. 3 shows that the 'gold, silver and precious stone' is what we are to build on the foundation of Christ. Gold is the pure, valuable, rare quality, rare creation of God. That's why He says that.

Then He says something else, "…so that you may be clothed, and the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed…" (v 18).

He also says, v 20: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him…"—meaning that they have pushed Him out of their lives, and if they don't repent, then you know what the end result will be.

Verse 21: "To the one who overcomes will I give authority to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and sat down with My Father in His throne. The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (vs 21-22).

Here is the seven-week harvest!

A little prophecy in Rev. 4 & 5: John was of the Aaronic priesthood but never was a priest. In the Old Testament, only the priest could go into the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement.

When we're resurrected from the dead, we're going to meet Christ in the air on the Sea of Glass as we'll see tomorrow, Pentecost, and we'll see God the Father and Jesus Christ, and all the saints. So, Rev. 4 & 5 are a prophecy of the resurrection for the seven churches!

  • 7 weeks of harvest
  • 50th day

In vision John saw the throne of God! That's something! I'll let you read it! Come back tomorrow and we're going to go through the book of Revelation and see a lot of exciting things!

Scriptural References:

  • Exodus 19:1-13, 15-25
  • Exodus 20:18-19, 24-25
  • Exodus 23:14-17
  • Deuteronomy 6:1-7
  • Exodus 24:1-2, 4-15, 18
  • Exodus 25:8
  • Leviticus 23:9-16
  • Mark 4:10-20
  • Acts 2:1-2
  • Revelation 1:19-20
  • Revelation 2:1-5, 7-11, 15-17, 19-21, 23-26, 28
  • Revelation 3:2, 5, 8-10, 12-13, 15-18, 20-22

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Exodus 33:20;
  • Deuteronomy 5
  • Exodus 20:23; 21-23
  • Matthew 22
  • Leviticus 23:17
  • Matthew 16; 13
  • 1  John 3
  • Luke 8
  • 1 Corinthians 13
  • Revelation 4; 5

Also referenced:

Book: The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter
Booklets:

  • Why is "Christianity" Failing in America? By Philip Neal
  • The Collapse of Anglican Christianity by Philip Neal

Sermon: Jesus' Stenographers

FRC: bo
Transcribed: 5/8/17

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