Fred Coulter - June 7, 2003

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And greetings, brethren. This is day 49, the Sabbath before Pentecost. And today we’re going to cover on how we count to Pentecost. And the reason we are going to do this is because there are so many different ideas out there that have come along. And it’s interesting that these heresies concerning the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, counting to Pentecost and Pentecost all sort of run in cycles.

And this year we’ve had a new twist added to it, which is that there is one man who goes over to the holy land (supposedly the holy land), and he goes to the Karaite Jews and he observes how they harvest the wave sheaf of barley. And he claims that you cannot keep Passover until the barley is ripe. Well, let’s understand something - today the climate in Palestine, which it really is. It’s not the holy land. It’s as unholy as can be. Is far different than it was during the days when the Israelites lived there.

Number two, that is a temple ritual, which Jesus Christ fulfilled.

Number three, because the church is spread worldwide, God provided the calculated Hebrew Calendar so it would be the most accurate means of determining the holy days. Now even in spite of that we need to be able to count Pentecost because we are told to do so.

So let’s begin by going to Deuteronomy 16, and let’s look at one of the problems that developed because people do not rightly put the scriptures together, and each has his own idea on how things should be. And then I will show you the source of two problems that we had concerning counting Pentecost for years, and years, and years, and as a matter of fact there are some who still count it incorrectly.

Now let’s begin Deuteronomy 16:9. “Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn.” Now this is the wave sheaf offering. Now the Hebrew word for “weeks” is shebuah, and it means “a week”. And also it means a complete week. So here we have that you shall number unto you seven complete weeks. “And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD…”, which is also another name for Pentecost. Pentecost, as we will see, means “count fifty”. “…Unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place His name there. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe to do these statutes” (Deut. 16:9-12). Well, with this we can also remember that we were a bondman in spiritual Egypt, that is this world.

Now let’s come to Leviticus 23, and here we have a little more details on the counting, and here is where we get the fiftieth day. Deuteronomy 16 gives us the seven weeks, but it does not give us the fiftieth day. We find that here in Leviticus 23, and let’s begin in verse 9.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:…” (Lev. 23:9-10).

Now then, let’s look at verse 10 for just a minute. First of all there is one error out there which some ministers say and teach and people believe, that the harvest had to be in the second year when they went into the land because the Canaanites were the ones who planted the seeds for the harvest. So when they came in just before the Passover, therefore they couldn’t use that harvest because they were planted with unclean hands, and they need to have sanctified seed planed only by the hands of Israelites. Well now, verse 10 says nothing of any of those requirements.

First of all let’s analyze it just a minute. “…When you come into the land…”, that is when they came into the land, not a year after, see. “…Which I give you…,” and if God gives them the land and there is a crop to be harvested, who’s crop is it? It is theirs. Now also, “…and ye shall reap the harvest thereof,…” It doesn’t say, “You shall reap the harvest that you shall plant.” It says, “You shall reap the harvest that you have already there, that is planted, and you take over.” And then “…ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:…” Now this was the wave sheaf offering. So they were to do this when they came into the land. This was not kept in the sense of the wave sheaf offering, all during the forty years that they were in the wilderness. They kept Pentecost as a memorial of giving the Ten Commandments. Now then, when they came into the land, another way - the exact way of determining it is according to the grain harvest. And as we are going to see, it is the grain harvest that leads up to Pentecost, and Pentecost is a grain harvest feast.

Now this “firstfruits” means the premiere sheaf. And this is the one that symbolized Christ. This is the one that He fulfilled. So we count from, as we will see, in Christ fulfilling this, He was accepted of God the Father, and was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Now let’s read a little more detail about this.

“…And he shall wave the sheaf [or that is, elevate and wave the sheaf] before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it” (vs. 11). So we have during the week of Unleavened Bread, like we did this year, we had the Passover Tuesday night, the Night to be Remembered, Wednesday night. We had the holy day Thursday, and then Friday was the preparation day, then we had the weekly Sabbath. Now Christ was resurrected at the end of the weekly Sabbath, and as we will see, He ascended and was accepted of God the Father on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath during Unleavened Bread. So therefore, the beginning of the count always is with the day that Jesus was accepted. So that becomes day number one of the fiftieth count, which is also according to the ritual here, day number one of the fifty day count, when the priest waves the wave sheaf offering.

Now let’s come to John 20. We’ll come back here to Leviticus 23 and look at the count a little bit more here, but let’s come to John 20, and let’s see where we find this literally fulfilled right after the women came to the tomb early in the morning on the first day of the week. Now let’s pick it up here in John 20 and let’s begin in verse 11.

They came there early in the morning, actually Mary Magdalene left the house before the sun had risen, but it was getting light and she left early, it says, while it was yet dark. And then she came to the tomb and saw that it was empty. She ran back and told Peter and John. Peter and John came and looked at the tomb, and then they left and Mary Magdalene stayed there.

Now verse 11. “But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, andlooked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in the white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus” (John 20:11-14). So as a resurrected spirit being, Jesus was able to manifest Himself in a way where people would not necessarily recognize Him. Just like it was here with Mary Magdalene, and as we find in Luke 24 with the two disciples as they went to Emmaus.

When she turned herself she saw Him standing there, didn’t know it was Jesus, and Jesus said to her, “…Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, if thou have borne Him [or taken Him away from here] hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.” And then Jesus revealed Himself to her, verse 16. “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God” (vs. 15-17). So then she went. Jesus apparently then ascended to heaven, was accepted by God the Father, and then came right back to the earth.

Now first of all He appeared to the two disciples that were walking on their way to Emmaus. And they were talking about the things that had happened and were telling Jesus, and Jesus appeared to them in a way that they couldn’t recognize Him, so He walked with them all the way down to Emmaus. He went into the inn, and they sat down to eat and when He broke bread and blessed it then they recognized it was Jesus. Well Jesus then immediately disappeared from them. And the two disciples went on back to where the apostle were. And here is John’s account of this and then we’ll go see Luke’s account of it.

Now John 20:19. “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, which the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews,…” Now they weren’t having a special Sunday meeting here. They were there because of the fear of the Jews. “…Came Jesus and stood in the mist, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” So He just immediately appeared right in the room. Now He either walked through the wall, or walked through the doors to get into the room. And only as a spirit being could He do this.

Now let’s understand, this is on the morrow after the Sabbath, being the first day of the week during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. So that’s when Jesus was ascended and went to the Father. Now let’s come back here to Luke 24 and let’s see the rest of the account and what Jesus did, and how He appeared to them.

Now let’s begin here in Luke 24, and let’s pick it up here in verse 36. It picks up the account - the two ran back from Emmaus, “And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” Now this was an astonishing thing because you see, never in the history of the world has there been someone raised from the dead as Jesus was raised from the dead. Never has it happened until Jesus, someone was raised from the dead as a fleshly human being to be an immortal spirit being. Now, as an immortal spirit being Jesus has the ability to appear in His full glorified form, as we see in Revelation 1, where His countenance shines as the sun, and His feet shine as if they were molten brass in a furnace, and His eyes are as a flame of fire. And the vision that the apostles saw of the transfiguration, Jesus whole countenance and visage shined as the sun in its full strength. However, He also has the ability to appear as a human being. To appear as flesh and bone. And this is what He told them here. So let’s see this. Now remember, all of this occurred on the Wave Sheaf Offering Day after Jesus had ascended to the Father to be accepted as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and came down and then appeared to them. Now remember, He told Mary not to touch Him because He had not yet ascended to the Father, and that was early in the morning. Now the wave sheaf offering by the priest was generally at about nine o’clock, just right at the time after the morning daily offering. So the wave sheaf was waved. That’s the time that Jesus ascended to heaven, was accepted of the Father, came back down to the earth and appeared to the two disciples and then to the apostles.

Now let’s read continuing here in Luke 24:37. “But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” Now this means a demon. A demon spirit. The reason that they were afraid is because a demon spirit cannot appear as a human being. It cannot appear as one that has flesh and bone as Jesus did. A demon can only appear as an apparition. It doesn’t have the power to appear as a human being. “And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see;…” So this tells us that He had already ascended to the Father and returned. Because He said before He went up, He told Mary, “Don’t’ touch Me.” So now He says, “…handle Me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have. And when He had thus spoken, He shewed them His hands and His feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.” Now I don’t know how that combination would taste. It would be interesting. I’d like to try it sometime. But anyway, that’s what He ate. “And He took it, and did eat before them” (vs. 37-43).

Now then, verse 44, He immediately began to open their minds to the truth of the prophecies concerning Himself. Verse 44, “And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,…” (vs. 44-45). And this is a key important thing. To really understand the scriptures through the Spirit of God, you have to have your mind opened to do so.

Now, if you have the Passover book, you can go and you can read the fourteen rules for Bible study, or if not we have that in booklet form, “The Fourteen Rules For Bible Study”.

Verse 46, “…And said unto them, thus it is written, and thus it behoved [that means it was obligatory] Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things” (vs. 46-48). Now let’s understand something. Just as we do not offer animal sacrifices today because Jesus fulfilled that part of it, likewise Jesus fulfilled the wave sheaf offering so we do not need to go and align ourselves with the Jews. And remember Jesus said beware of the leaven of the scribes and the Pharisees. We do not need to go align ourselves with the Karaite Jews who reject Jesus, don’t believe in Him, and look at a physical wave sheaf offering and determine when it is that we ought to be able to keep Passover and begin to count Pentecost. See, that’s why we have the calculated Hebrew Calendar. It’s very important to understand that, brethren.

Now let’s come back to Leviticus 23, and let’s look in the way to count. Let’s finish up the wave sheaf offering. It gives all the things that they were to offer with it - the burnt offering, the meal offering, and so forth. Verse 14 is a very important thing. “And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched [grain] corn,…” Now parched grain is this: they take the green ears, which are not quite ripe but they’re ripe enough, and then they parch them and make them hard, see. “…Parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.” Now after that, after that first Wave Sheaf Offering Day that they did after they crossed the Jordan and went into the promised land, then they would always have old grain to eat after that coming up to the next time of the Passover and Unleavened Bread season, and the Wave Sheaf Offering Day. So these are instructions for the very first day when they entered into the land.

Now let’s see how they were to count. “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath,…” Now this means including that day. This is always inclusive counting. “…From the day [that means beginning with the day] that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:…” (vs. 15).

Now years ago the Worldwide Church of God, Herbert Armstrong decided that in counting to Pentecost you excluded Sunday and began with Monday, which was incorrect. And so they had a great debacle over this in 1952. And at that particular time, to settle the issue, Herbert Armstrong asked Dr. Herman Hoeh to examine the scriptures here and tell him whether it was beginning with the day or after the day. So Dr. Hoeh reasoned this way, and he told us when they changed in 1974 back to the correct count, he admitted to all the ministers that he did this: he said that since Herbert Armstrong was God’s apostle, therefore as God’s apostle he had to be right and this had to be inspiration. So he went into these verses right here, which say “sabbath” verse 15; “seven sabbaths” verse 15; “sabbath” verse 16, and he said that that means “weeks”. Well that was not true. Sabbath here is shabbath and means “Sabbath”. Weeks, as we started out, is shebuah and means “weeks”.

Now if you begin counting on a Monday, you cannot have seven Sabbaths and then the morrow after the seventh Sabbath. It’s an impossibility to do. There is no way that it can be configured. Now let’s read it. It means exactly what it says. “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day [which means beginning with the day] that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:…” (vs. 15). And this means a complete week ending in a Sabbath for seven Sabbaths. Now that’s why Deuteronomy 16 has seven weeks. And those mean seven full weeks. So here we have it further defined that each week is to end in a Sabbath. So it means that each week begins counting on Sunday including the day Sunday. And you can look at any calendar and check that out. Actually you can look in the Harmony of the Gospels, and we’ve got “Counting to Pentecost in 30 AD” when Jesus was resurrected, and how we come to Pentecost.

Now notice it says here as a double check, “Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days;…” (vs. 16). Now, if you begin day one, which is on a Sunday, and you go forty-nine days, the forty-ninth day is on a Sabbath, which is the seventh Sabbath. And the morrow after the seventh Sabbath has to be the first day of the week. Now this does not justify Sunday-keeping because God had this way before the Catholics and Protestants ever came up with their rationale for Sunday keeping, and we’ve covered that very thoroughly in “Refuting Sunday keeping”. We have a lot of tapes on that so if you don’t have that you might write in for it, the “Refuting Sunday Keeping”.

Now then, from this point forward, let’s go ahead and look at how the harvest leading up to the resurrection, yes and including the resurrection, which we will see tomorrow, but I want us to see leading up to the resurrection, that this is a harvest. Now first of all let’s go back to day one and let’s see in 1 Corinthians that the apostle Paul also verifies that Jesus is the firstfruit. That is, that wave sheaf offering which was accepted by God the Father on behalf of all the children of Israel, and with Jesus Christ being the sin offering for the whole world on the behalf of all human beings, was accepted as that premiere sacrifice.

Now let’s come to 1 Corinthians 15:20, and this tells us something very important concerning Jesus Christ. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that [sleep] slept.” He fulfilled the firstfruit wave sheaf offering when He ascended to heaven. “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Cor. 15:20-23). Now this tells us when the resurrection will be. And this tells us that it’s going to be at His coming, but Christ is the firstfruits.

Now we also know that He is the firstborn. Colossians 1, let’s just read this again. He is the firstborn from the dead. And if you understand this then you also realize this is how Jesus was born again. And this also tells us how we will be born again. Now let’s look at this here. Let’s pick it up here in verse 18. “And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the firstborn from [among] the dead;…” See, He’s the first one, He’s the first of the firstfruits, He is the firstborn from the dead, and all of those have to do with combining that very first day counting to Pentecost. Firstborn from among the dead. Now we also know in Romans 8:29 that He is firstborn among many brethren. And the brethren are going to be resurrected at Christ’s return when He returns.

Now then, let’s go to Matthew 13 and see how Jesus, in this series of parables, shows that what He is doing toward the resurrection from His first coming to His second coming is likened unto a harvest. And that’s why the first resurrection, as we will see tomorrow, has to be on Pentecost. And what we are going to do is look at this harvest, see what He says, see how He lays it out, and then we will look at some other scriptures, which also show how we are tied in as firstfruits and the church of the firstborn.

But let’s begin here in verse 11. The disciples wanted to know about the parable, so they said, “Tell us what it means.” Verse 11, “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” God has not opened the minds of the people of the world - just those that He’s calling in this age. “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables…neither do they understand.” (Matt. 13:11-13).

Now let’s come down to verse 18 where He explains it. “Here ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side” (vs. 18-19). Now there are a lot of people - oh they love to hear the Word of God, and it’s kind of in and out, and it never registers. Those are the ones He’s talking about.

“But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon [and that means, by and by] with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself,…” Now these are good parables for us to really, how shall we say, sink our roots into, if we could put it that way, rather than our teeth into. And we can ask ourselves how do we fare in the explanation of the parables, and how is our crop, how is our field, spiritually speaking, and so forth.

Now notice, “…Yet he hath not root in himself, but [endures] dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” And people leave, and we’ve seen that. “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” Now it’s like the richest man I ever met in the church who drove a Rolls Royce - one of those huge big models - and I was riding in the back seat and he looked up in the rear-view mirror, looked me right in the eye and says, “Fred, I don’t believe the New Testament teaches tithing.” (Laughing) Well, I would say that the deceitfulness of riches has got him. Wouldn’t you? Sure. And they “…choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (vs. 20-22). And true to this he has many doctrines which are not true. So you see, all we have to do is to understand the Word of God, and when we are confronted with situations in life, we can see that’s exactly how it comes as Jesus said it would.

Now notice verse 23. Hopefully this is us. “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit,…” That means you go out and you have works, see, because your faith is made perfect by works. That’s what James said. “…And bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

So then He gave another parable. The parable of the good seed and then the enemy comes. So he sowed the good seed. The enemy came and sowed the tares. Now it’s an interesting thing concerning how wheat and tares grow up. As they are growing it is very hard to tell the difference between one and the other. But when the grain starts to head out then the tares are recognized for what they are because they have no heads of grain. In other words, they have no fruit.

And He says here the servants came and said, “Well, how did these tares get there?” And Jesus said, “An enemy has done this.” And his servant said, “Do you want us to go out and weed out the tares?” He said, “No, let them both grow together.” (vs. 27-30, paraphrased). Now you see, this is what’s important. There is always going to be a cycle within the Church of God, which comes around to the time that the tares are sowed in among us. And what will happen is that when they are manifest, if we stay true to the Word of God then they cannot harm us, they cannot take away our fruit, they cannot, as the agents of the enemy, take us down.

Now in many cases they leave. But here, to give the explanation of this parable, the disciples came to Him, verse 36. Now that’s in Matthew 13:36. “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and His disciples came unto Him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the son of man;…” So see, this is a harvest. What I want us to understand is that the time from the wave sheaf offering through to Pentecost is a great harvest. And all of us are likened unto firstfruits. Now notice what He says here. He says, “…The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom [which we are]; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;…” (vs. 36-38).

Now then, let’s see how we can distinguish between the children of the kingdom, and the children of the devil. Now hold your place here and let’s come back to 1 John 3. Now this tells us the difference between the children of God and the children of the devil.

Now let’s pick it up here beginning in verse 4. “Whosoever committeth sin [or that is, practices sin] transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” Or, lawlessness. Now why does he put this verse right here? Because he’s going to make a point and he’s going to show that the children of the devil break and transgress the commandments of God. Now verse 5, “And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth [or that is, dwells] in Him sinneth not:…” Now this has the meaning “does not practice sin”, because we know it says over here in chapter 1, if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins. And in chapter 2, that He is an advocate for us if we sin. So this cannot mean “without sin”, this means “does not practice sin”. “…Whosoever [practices] sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness [or that is, practices righteousness] is righteous, even as He is…” (1 John 3:4-7).

Now the reason is, as we saw during the Days of Unleavened Bread is this, that God imputes the righteousness of Jesus Christ to us if we yield to God and are growing and overcoming, and standing in His grace, and repenting of our sins, and constantly coming to God and coming to the light, then we are righteous as He is righteous.

Now notice verse 8, which ties in with verse 4. “He that committeth sin [or practices sin] is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Which He began to do with the crucifixion and the resurrection. Now then, verse 9. “Whosoever [and it should read, is begotten of God does not practice sin - now that’s the way it should read]…for His seed [that is the seed of God the Father] remaineth in him: and he cannot [practice] sin, because he is [begotten] born of God.”

Now then he says verse 10. Here’s the key. “In this…”, that is those who practice sin are of the devil. Those who do not practice sin are the children of God. “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil:…” So you see, even within the midst this is defining the children of the devil or the tares that come within the church. Now we’re going to see a little bit later in the seven week harvest as we come down through history, that yes the devil is there. The devil is ready. The devil is working. The devil confronts every church of God from without and from within. “…Whosoever doeth not [practice] righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” (vs. 10-11).

Now let’s understand something. John through here, in 1 John and 2 John, he says, “That which you’ve had from the beginning, that which we have seen from the beginning…” So when you go back to the beginning of the gospel, what did they do? They kept the Sabbath. They kept the holy days. They did the things that pleased God, didn’t they? Yes. So here’s how we discern between the children of the devil who are the tares, and the children of the kingdom who are the children of God, not yet born into the kingdom as we will see, but that happens at the end of the age. And we haven’t come to the end of the age.

Now let’s come back to Matthew 13, and let’s pick it up again in verse 38. “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom;...” And we have the seed of begettal of God the Father in us. So here’s a direct parallel there. “…But the tares are the children of the wicked one;…” That is the children of Satan the devil, and they practice sin. And they are the ones who come in and bring false doctrines, and bring their own ideas, and destroy the faith of the saints so that’s why you have to be strong, you see. “…The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” That is symbolic of the war and destruction at the end time. Verse 43, “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” And notice He says, “[He] Who hath ears…let him hear” (Matt. 13:38-43).

Now then, let’s look at the seven weeks of harvest leading up to the resurrection.

Part 2

Now let’s see where we are called the firstfruits of God’s creation. Let’s come to James 1. Now, this ties right in with what Paul wrote that Christ is the firstfruit, afterward those that are Christ’s at His coming. So they are a different harvest. And the harvest takes place all at once.

Now here again, James 1. Let’s pick it up here in verse 17. “Every good gift…” That means God’s Spirit, God’s love, God’s faith, God’s blessing, the physical things that we have. “Every good gift and every perfect gift…” Which means the perfection of character, the growing in grace and knowledge, the developing of the mind of Christ, “…is from above [comes to us through the Holy Spirit], and cometh down from the Father of lights,…” That’s why when we pray, we pray directly to God the Father. And as Jesus said we are to pray to Him because He loves us. So this is really a very important and profound part of the scriptures here. Now notice, “…with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” That’s something, isn’t it? God is always the same. That’s why it says of Jesus, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). So you can always count on God the Father and Jesus Christ, without a doubt. With God there is no shadow or variableness of turning. Now let’s understand that in relationship to the world’s way of believing in Sunday and the holidays, God never changed from the holy days. God never changed from the Passover. What He did, He changed how they are observed. He did not change the day.

Now notice verse 18. “Of His own will [that is by God’s own desire] begat He us with the word of truth,…” And of course Jesus is called what? “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God” (John 1:1). And with His Holy Spirit and the scriptures He begat us. He put His seed into us. And we become the children of God, though it’s not yet manifest what we shall be, but as John says when Christ returns and is manifest we will see Him as He is because we will be like Him. So here we have combined the begettal, and as we will see, firstfruits. “…That we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” Now this means, “of His creation”. What God is creating in us now, see. As we know, the character that we have, the new man that we are putting on, is created in true righteousness and holiness by the Spirit of God, by the power of God, that we be that fruit which brings forth thirty-fold, sixty-fold, or one hundred-fold.

Now let’s also see one other thing since we are right here in James. Just turn a page back and you will be to Hebrews 12, and let’s come here to verse 18. And here we see the parallel between the giving of the law on Pentecost in Exodus 20, and our coming to Mount Zion in heaven above. Now just like God said that Israel was His firstborn under the Old Covenant, so likewise we are called, as we will see, the church of the firstborn. So we have the same thing applied to us as was applied to Christ. Christ was the first of the firstfruits and the first of the firstborn. We are the firstfruits because we are in the first resurrection, and we are the firstborn church.

Now let’s see the comparison here, verse 18. “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words;…” Now remember the trumpet sounded loud and long. Loud and long on the day of Pentecost. Now we’ll see that’s important when we come to tomorrow and the resurrection, see. “…And the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (for they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible [that is, awesome] was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)…” (Heb. 12:18-21).

Now then our situation is different than that. We have direct access by the blood of Christ, right into the holy of holies in heaven above, right to God the Father with Jesus Christ as our High Priest sitting at His right hand. Now notice what he says here, verse 22. “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,…” And you can read of that in Revelation 4 and 5. Now notice, “…to the general assembly and church of the firstborn,…” Now that’s what we are. We are the firstfruits, likened unto a harvest. We are the church of the firstborn because we will be in the first resurrection. “…Which are written in heaven [that is, in the book of life], and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,…” (vs. 22-23). And so what happens when we die? The spirit of man, which is in us, which has been perfected with the Spirit of God, that goes back to God. And He keeps track of every human being that has ever existed. And they are in the categories:

  • The first resurrection - those who are the saints.
  • The second resurrection - those in the world who have not done evil unto the unpardonable sin. Those are the good and sincere, and honest people of the world if you want to put it that way.
  • And the second phase of the second resurrection, which is the resurrection of the wicked, unto the second death.

Now God keeps track of all of those, and He even says that not even a sparrow is going to fall that He doesn’t know about it. Now this tells us great things about God which is hard for us to understand. So therefore when we die, our body goes into the grave. Our soul, that is the chemical life that we have in the blood and the nervous system, and so forth, dies. The spirit of man, which is in our mind, goes back to God and then He puts that into a new spirit body at the resurrection. So we’re called “…the church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel” (vs. 24).

Now then, let’s look at the fulfillment of the seven week harvest as it applies to the church. Let’s come to Revelation 2. Let’s ask a question as we are turning there. Remember where we started? You are to count seven weeks unto the harvest. Now we will see there’s a reason for the seven weeks, and there is a reason for the fiftieth day. Both have special meaning. The seven weeks have special meaning, and the fiftieth day, Pentecost, has special meaning so you’ll have to come back tomorrow so you get the rest of the story on that. But let’s look at the seven weeks.

Now let’s ask a question. In the prophecy of the churches, which Revelation 2 and 3 are, why do we have only seven churches? Why do we not have fourteen? Because these seven churches, each of the seven churches picture one week of the harvest leading up to Pentecost. Now let’s look at that. Let’s understand something about the church. The church though we are perfected in Christ, that is true, but the church is always as the parable of the tares show, attacked from outside and inside by the agents of Satan the devil. And they have varying degrees of success. And therefore you’re going to find in the churches of God… Now, as God looks down on the world there are the seven churches as He sees it.

Now then, Revelation 2 and 3 are very important because the seven churches, as we will see, picture many different things. Number one, they are literally the seven churches to whom this message was originally written by John. And that was in his day right toward the end of the first century. Then we also have of the seven churches the seven basic attitudes that individuals in any congregation can have at any time. And you combine this with the parable of the sower where some fell by the wayside, some fell in a rock, some fell in the weeds, and so forth. The other thing is this, this tells us the prophetic history (this is the third thing) the prophetic history of the church down through time, from the time that John wrote this until the end of the church harvest, which then leads up to the return of Christ.

Now also the fourth thing is this: in the book of Revelation we have seven, out of which come seven. That is seven seals out of which comes seven trumpet plagues, out of which come seven last plagues. So likewise with the seven churches we have seven in the beginning out of which there are seven down through history, and when we come to the end out of which there will be seven at the end as God views the church. Now these are not defined by human corporate organizations. These are defined by spiritual attitudes. And these are defined by the works that we do. And God knows the works that we do. And the works that we do are important because they are perfected in Christ, and these have to do with the reward that we will receive.

So let’s read the message to each one of these seven churches, and let’s do this: in each one of them let’s apply the lessons that apply to us. Because as we will see it is to all the churches, yet to the individual churches and also to the individuals within those churches. So you see it has great meaning. And these then represent, the seven churches represent the seven weeks of harvest up to Pentecost. In other words the seven weeks of harvest represent the church age.

Now let’s begin right here with the church at Ephesus, Revelation 2:1. “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand,…” We read earlier that Christ is the head of the church, right? He controls it. He’s the head of it. He determines what goes on in the church. “…Who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;…” He’s never away from His church. As a matter of fact we come over here…turn to chapter 5 for just a minute, and we will see something also very interesting.

Revelation 5:5, “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” This is one mission of Christ as the son of David. Now then verse 6 is the spiritual fulfillment of this. “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb [that’s Christ] as it had been slain, having seven horns…” (Rev. 5:5-6). Now what are those horns? Where are horns? In the head. And those seven horns represent the seven churches. And it shows clearly that Christ is the head of those seven churches. And then it says, “…and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” And that’s how God knows what’s going on in the earth. That’s how God knows what’s going on, not only in the earth, but also in the church. As well as us having the Holy Spirit of God, God knows what’s going on with us at all times, doesn’t He? Since He lives in us and dwells in us with His Spirit, He knows us, doesn’t He? Yes, indeed.

Now let’s go on here, Revelation 2:2. Notice how each one of these He starts out with “I know your works,…” Works are required. Works perfect faith. “…And thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil:…” So what they did, “…and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:…” This is why we are to prove everything by what the Word of God says. We are not to accept the fact that someone says, “I’m a minister of God”, or “I’m an apostle of God.” We prove it by what they say. We prove it by the Word of God. And they found them liars so they rejected them. “…And hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.” So that’s really quite a commendation. “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Rev. 2:2-4).

Now what is the first love, and does this apply to many people today? Absolutely it does. The first love is loving God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and being. Now how do people leave that first love? Satan has a simple device on how to do this. You get people all wrapped up in doing social things. And you get them wrapped up into alternate works instead of the works of commandment keeping, and love, and joy, and peace, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Then they have doing good for other people in the world. Now it’s not wrong to do good for the people in the world, but when that becomes the main thrust and neglects loving God then you are loving the people you are serving more than you are loving God, and the project in serving people becomes a paramount important thing instead of the project of growing in grace, and knowledge, and overcoming, and loving God becoming the paramount and important thing, you see. So they left it.

Now notice, when you leave your first love, as Jesus said, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent,...” He tells everyone of the churches but one church, actually two churches to repent. Showing that the churches collectively, and the people in the churches individually, missed the mark and fall short and have sin. It says, “…Repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Then He commends them for one thing. “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate” (vs. 5-6). Now the Nicolaitanes is the hierarchical form of government. Now you see, right after the apostle John died there was a so-called saint Justin Martyr Ignatius. Now Ignatius was one of those who was in on the beginnings of the Roman Catholic church at that time. And he even wrote epistles around 115, 116, 118 AD. And what his job was, was to take the brethren out of the home churches and put them into church buildings. So now we have a hierarchy. See, the people here in Ephesus resisted that movement. They did not go along with it. They understood what it was and they didn’t do it.

Now then He says all the way through. Notice how this ties right in with Matthew 13. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh…” So we’ve got to constantly be overcoming brethren. This is the whole message. Or, we can put it this way - you have got to constantly be growing as that grain harvest so that you produce the grain. And if you’re not growing then you cannot grow to the point of maturity and develop the grain unto eternal life, if I could put it that way, you see. You have to overcome. “…Will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (vs. 7).

Now then the church of Smyrna. Now He emphasizes something else. He says, “…These thing saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive:…” (vs. 8). Now this church went through a great deal of tribulation and turmoil. And this was when they were forming the churches even more, getting the hierarchical structure set and more firm than before. Now what we have here is this, these are the ones who resisted unto death. So the church at Smyrna has no sin. Christ doesn’t tell them to repent. And in this age, He says right here. Now notice it is Satan that is doing it. He is the force and the power behind every one of these things that is confronting the churches.

He says, “…I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews [that is claiming to be true Christians], and are not, but are [of] the synagogue of Satan.” Now remember, Paul gave the warning that false apostles come as ministers of righteousness. And he said, “No wonder, for Satan himself appears as an angel of light.” And Satan is after his church, after the Church of God, after the brethren day and night. But you don’t have to worry about that because you overcome him by your testimony, by the blood of Christ, and not loving your life unto death, and that’s what the Smyrnites did here. So Christ said, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer:…” So He’s going to give them extra strength to endure the persecution and martyrdom. “…Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death,…” Here, the doctrine was not the important point at this time. It was being faithful unto death. “…Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (vs. 9-11).

Now then, the next three churches, you will see that there is a progressive deterioration of the churches. And a progressive building of the false apostate church, known as the Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox churches.

Now let’s look at the third church here, Pergamos. Now notice how He warns them. Verse 12, “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith He which hath the sharp sword with two edges [the true Word of God]; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is:…” Now when you live right in the middle where Satan’s influence is most powerful it’s going to have an effect on even the church. See, now notice in all of these Satan is there. just like the parable of the tares. “…And thou holdest fast My name, and hast not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication” (vs. 12-14). Now the spiritual fulfillment of this is, changing the Passover to the Eucharist offered to an idol, and changing Sabbath to Sunday.

Now then on top of that they had one more thing, verse 15. “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes,…” That is the hierarchical rigid form of government, which Jesus said, “…which thing I hate.” Now remember when the disciples wanted to know who was going to be the greatest, He said, “You are not going to be as the princes of this world, which rule over the people, and you’re not going to be as those that are the religious leaders that exercise authority.” And both of these are hierarchical from the top down. Jesus said, “…which thing I hate.” Notice He says, “Repent;…” Now how bad is their conduct? “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth” (vs. 15-16). Now can you imagine this? That the Church of God during the era of Pergamos, got so bad that Christ had to leave the church and come and fight against His own church. And He tried to do it through men who would come and bring the true doctrine, and they refused, and counted them as heretics and cast them out.

So He says verse 17, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”

Now then we come to the church of Thyatira and I think it’s very interesting, if you have not seen the video “Israel of the Alps”, you might get that out and watch it again, or if you don’t have it you can write in for it and we’ll send it to you. But I think it’s very interesting because for years I’ve often thought of how similar Thyatira is to what we call the Seventh Day Adventist today. And the video, “Israel of the Alps” is produced by the Seventh Day Adventists and they relate their origin to the Waldensians and the time when this era of the church was in full blossom.

Now notice again, we have the agents of Satan the devil coming after the church, and this is the church in Thyatira. So He says, “…These things saith the Son of God, Who hath His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass;…” He knows exactly what’s going on. He says, “…I know thy works, and [your love] charity, and [your] service, and [your] faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few thins against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols” (vs. 18-20). And that’s exactly what has happened to the Seventh Day Adventist Church. They keep communion quarterly. They recognize the trinity, and they have many other doctrines that they derive from the Roman Catholic Church though they preach against it. Now that’s amazing. Even though they keep the weekly Sabbath.

And He says here, verse 21, “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” And so now if you don’t have the videos, “The Jesuit Agenda for the Seventh Day Adventist Church”, you might write in for that because that will reveal to you how Satan attacks all Sabbath keeping churches. Now notice, God means business with His church. “Behold, I will cast her into…great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.” And this is probably the situation that occurred with the Reformation. “And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works” (vs. 21-23). See, God knows all of these things. But look at how the tares of Satan the devil are always there working in the harvest to disturb it.

“But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak;..” So boy, that’s something. Getting into the very depths of Satan. Can you imagine that? People in the Church of God sinking to that level. Did some of these here commit the unpardonable sin sinking to the level of getting into the depths of Satan? Probably so. If you haven’t, He says, “I’m going to lay not other burden upon you.” “But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end,…” Which includes the holy days, doesn’t it? And the Seventh Day Adventists don’t keep the holy days because they believe the same teachings that the Roman Catholic Church teaches that those were ceremonial days. So here He says, “Keep My works unto the end” instead of doing their own and doing the works of Jezebel and Satan. “…I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. And I will give him the morning star.” Then He gives a warning, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (vs. 24-29). So we need to listen to what God says.

Now let’s begin in chapter 3 and look at the last three churches. First of all we have Sardis. Now Sardis is a church that has a name that it’s living but it’s dead. Now verse 2, Jesus says, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain,…” Now my experience has been, and I think it was a proper observation through the years, that many of the Churches of God-Seventh Day fall into this category. They barely have the Sabbath, they barely have the Passover, and that’s all that they do. Now notice, “…strenghten the things which remain, that are ready to die:…” And currently the Church of God-Seventh Day is being infiltered by the agents of Satan to take it down and accept Sunday keeping. Can you imagine a Church of God-Seventh Day going to Sunday worship? But that’s the program that’s coming. “…For I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou has received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.” Now then here’s a warning. He tells them, “Except you repent”, “…I will come upon thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” And that doesn’t necessarily mean when Christ returns, because Christ can come upon someone at anytime to correct them. So He says, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me…[who] are worthy” (Rev. 3:2-4). So it looks like those who are truly dead in Sardis will have committed the unpardonable sin.

Now let’s look at the church at Philadelphia. Everyone wants to claim to be a Philadelphian but they don’t want to do the works of a Philadelphian. And as a matter of fact, most of those who claim to be a Philadelphian church are run by a hierarchy, which God hates, and are run by fear, which God hates. The church of Philadelphia is the church of brotherly love, and it’s the church of brotherly love because it loves God first. It says here, verse 7, “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, These things saith He that is holy, He is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;…” See, the Philadelphians wait on God to open the door. They keep knocking but they wait till God opens the door. “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and has not denied My name.” Kept all of His word. Christ does not tell this church to repent either. “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (vs. 7-9). So here Satan is after the church at Philadelphia but does not get in and deceive it because the church at Philadelphia are the seed sown in the good ground that brings forth the fruit thirty-fold, sixty-fold, a hundred-fold, you see.

Now notice, “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience [or, patiently kept My word], I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” So we’ve got “all the world”, and then reemphasized “upon the earth”. And this great temptation, which is coming, is going to be the receiving of the mark of the beast. Now I’ve got a tape on that, “The Temptation To Try The Whole World”. Now notice again, He does not tell this church to repent. “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast,…” We are always to hold fast the Word of God, and today we have the Word of God as never before. And we need to hold fast to all of it and let none of it fall to the ground, let none of it be subverted by the agents of Satan the devil. And we need to stand for the truth, and stand for it at all times. Now then He says, “…I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (vs. 10-11). Because Satan’s ministers are out there and they want to take your crown. That means they want to keep you from attaining the kingdom of God, and the reward, and the blessing, and eternal life. That’s what they are after. So you see the stakes of what we are confronting here are very, very high.

Now then He says, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name.” Then He says, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (vs. 12-13). Now the only way that a person, or a church is a church with the Philadelphia attitude is one that loves God, loves the brethren, patiently keeps His Word, and holds fast to all of it.

Now then, let’s look at the poor Laodiceans here. the ones who are always beat upon. And the reason that they are is because today we’re living in a Laodicean age. We have so many things around us, we have all conveniences, we have things that can keep us busy, take our time, occupy us in doing everything. And we get so wrapped up that it’s hard to pray, it’s hard to study because you’re so busy doing things with things that you don’t have time for God.

Now then, listen to what He says here. Verse 15, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:...” See, and they can’t stand the harsh words of Christ. They have to have the bland words of a smooth preacher, saying “You’ve got to be balanced.” Being balanced is being lukewarm because you’re neither hot, you’re neither cold, correct? So what’s going to happen because you are not hot or cold? He said, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I [am about to] will spue thee out of My mouth” (vs. 15-16). That is for correction. I submit to you, has that not happened with the collapse of Worldwide Church of God? Where is it today? No longer exists. Is that not being spued out of the mouth of God?

“Because thou sayest,…” The “yeah-buts” always talk back to God. “…I am rich,…” Which then is a blessing of God, not necessarily, see. Satan can make you rich if you give in to him. After all, he told Christ, “If you’ll worship me I’ll give you all the nations - all the power and wealth of them all.” “…And increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:…” And isn’t it profound that today we live in such an age of such deceit and confusion and everything to take away from God, right? Yes, there it is, see. So God gives counsel. Christ says, “…I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire,…” That’s the true righteousness, you see. But it’s going to be by test, it’s going to be by trial, it’s going to be by fire “…that you may be rich; and white raiment [cause you’re running around without being clothed in Christ, and yet claiming that you are Christ’s, you see. “…And white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve,…” In other words get some good eye opening repentance and Bible study and eye-salve so that your eyes are open “…that you can see” (vs. 17-18), that you can understand what God wants for you.

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:…” So when we are rebuked and chastened don’t say, “Oh-h-h woe is me.” Say, “Thank you Christ because You love me.” And He says, “…be zealous therefore, and repent” (vs. 19). And that’s what we need to be - zealous for God. Repenting to God. Doing the things that are right. Doing the things that are true. Holding fast to that which is good, and working and doing the things with the goods and the things that we have with us to do and promote the Word of God, and the truth of God, and the righteousness of God - to build and support and to uplift the brethren. To help them likewise come to an attitude of repentance, see.

And Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:…” Now we have the door of our minds. That’s one door. Standing at the door of the second return is the send door. “…If any man hear My voice, and open the door [that’s the door of his mind - if you will return and come back to God], I will come in to him [with the power of the Holy Spirit], and will sup with him, and he with Me.” And then He says this, verse 21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (vs. 20-22).

So here the seven churches represent the seven weeks of harvest leading up to the resurrection. This is the church age, and as we will see, there is coming a time right in the future before the tribulation, and up into the beginning of the tribulation, that the church age ends. So come back tomorrow for the rest of the story.

Pentecost - Day 49 -2003

Scriptural References

1) Deuteronomy 16:9-12 10) 1 John 3:4-11
2) Leviticus 23:9-11 11) Matthew 13:38-43
3) John 20:11-19 12)  James 1:17-18
4) Luke 24:36-48 13) Hebrews 13:8
5) Leviticus 23:14-16 14) John 1:1
6) 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 15) Hebrews 12:18-24
7) Colossians 1:18 16) Revelation 2:1-29
8) Romans 8:29 17) Revelation 5:5-6
9) Matthew 13:11-13, 18-30, 36-38 18) Revelation 3:2-4, 7-22