Pentecost Overview

Fred R. Coulter—June 8, 2014

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Greetings, brethren! Welcome to Pentecost, 2014. Time marches on, and we're now at the most important Feast for all Christians. This is the day that we look forward to. We will see that God began His Church on this day, and we will see that the resurrection is on this day; it is at the set time!

We'll just rehearse a little bit concerning the Feast of Weeks, which is also the Feast of the Firstfruits. We also have covered the things of the first of the firstfruits.

Exodus 34:18: "You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. You shall eat unleavened bread seven days… [I'm reading this so that you know that it is connected to the Feast of Pentecost] …as I commanded you, in the time of the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt."

Verse 19 also tells us about the firstborn: "All that opens the womb is Mine… [Why? Because God created everything in reproduction!] …all firstlings of male livestock, of oxen or sheep. But the firstling of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem…." (vs 19-20). You can redeem the firstborn with a lamb, a calf or with an offering of money.

"…And none shall appear before Me empty" (v 20). At every Feast we take up an offering to God.

Then it puts in here about the Sabbath, right in between, v 21: "You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end. Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel" (vs 21-23).

Since we sent the two booklets on the Count to Pentecost, and also the calendar is in it so you can see how to do it accurately, I'm not going to go into great detail on counting to Pentecost; you already know how to do that. There was a special offering that was to take place on Pentecost, with an offering of leavened loaves; the only other offering that could be offered with leaven was that it was offered with unleavened cakes and leavened bread. That was the peace/thank offering (Lev. 7:12-13).

Leviticus 23:15: "And you shall count to you beginning with the next day after the Sabbath, beginning with the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete. Even unto the day after the seventh Sabbath you shall number fifty days. And you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD" (vs 15-16).

After we take up the regular offering, I will explain about the two loaves that were to be baked with leaven and brought to the priest as a wave offering. What starts out the day of count for the 50 days, beginning with the day after the Sabbath? The waving of the premiere sheaf; the first of the firstfruits. How does it end? We will see that after we take up the offering!

We have to also understand that God blesses us for the offerings and tithes that we give, and we are to faithfully do these. The ministry is not to merchandize the brethren. We don't send out dunning letters every month, 'Oh, send this, send this…' NO! If we do, then we may extract it from you. God wants you to give it so that it can be used to further what He wants done for the brethren in feeding the flock, and for the world in preaching the Gospel.

We are spending everything that we do toward that. We have no luxuries, no debts, but we are serving God in the way that He wants us to do it. Likewise with you; claim the promises with every offering and tithe that you give, that God will bless you with sufficiency and remember what you have done and He will give you grace and favor in His sight.

(pause for the offering)

Verse 17: "You shall bring out of your homes two wave loaves of two tenth parts. They shall be of fine flour. They shall be baked with leaven, they are the firstfruits to the LORD." Leaven during the Days of Unleavened Bread is a type of sin. But leaven for Pentecost pictures something entirely different. This pictures the resurrected saints. It says, "…they are the firstfruits to the LORD."

Let's just analyze that for a bit. Let's see where it tells us about putting leaven in three measures of flour until the whole thing is leavened. Let's see what this is compared to. Let's remember that when you take dough and you work it all together and you put leaven in it, then it rises. When you bake it, it is fixed in the final form.

Sometimes in working with bread they let it rise once, beat it back down, let it rise again. Sometimes it is beaten down the second time. Then it's formed into loaves and put into the oven. Now it is permanently changed. The leaven is what is the change.

Matthew 13:33: "Another parable He spoke to them: 'The Kingdom of Heaven is compared to leaven…'" The Kingdom of God is not the kingdom of sin. So, in this case, this represents the good work of leaven. The work of leaven is unseen, because once you put it in the bread it's like air and puffs it up.

The action of the Holy Spirit within our lives is typified by the good use of leaven. It changes us! It transforms us! Then when we are resurrected from the dead, we are waved—or brought up—to God just exactly as Jesus ascended into heaven and was accepted by God the Father. This is a tremendous parable here.

It's compared to leaven "…which a woman took..." (v 33)—a type of church; the Church and ministry is to:

  • feed the flock

  • preach the Word of God

  • bring the brethren to perfection—all of us—and not just the brethren

Paul said, 'You who teach others, don't you teach yourself?' All of us as ministers have to grow and yield to God, and have to let the Holy Spirit of God work in our lives. This is the good part of leaven.

"…hid in three measures of flour until all was leavened' (v 33). In other words, until we are completed and ready for the resurrection. That's quite something—isn't it?

We're going to see some other things as we come along; this is very interesting because the Feast of Pentecost pictures the first resurrection, as we saw yesterday, the firstfruits and then those who are Christ's.

We're going to learn some interesting things also in the book of Revelation. But first let's come to John 4. This was just after the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Jesus and His disciples were passing through the city of Samaria, and were on their way to go back to Galilee. Here's a very interesting thing that Jesus told them, because during Unleavened Bread, on the first day of the week, the Wave Sheaf Offering was to be waved. As they were making their way back to Galilee, then Jesus brought this out after they left Samaria and were done with woman and the people in the city of Samaria.

John 4:30: "Then they went out of the city and came to Him. But in the meantime, the disciples were urging Him, saying, 'Rabbi, eat.' And He said to them, 'I have meat to eat that you are not aware of.'" (vs 30-32). That's the rest of His ministry.

Verse 33: "Then the disciples said to one another, 'Did anyone bring Him something to eat?' Jesus said to them, 'My meat [food] is to do the will of Him Who sent Me, and to finish His work."

Matthew 7[corrected] is the same requirement for every single one of us. After warning against false prophets—you'll know them by their fruits—actually ravening wolves dressed up as sheep, but they're not.

Matthew 7:20: "Therefore, you shall assuredly know them by their fruits."

  • What do they preach?

  • What do they teach?

  • What are the actions of their lives?

  • Are they hypocrites like the Pharisees?

    • which is spiritual leaven

    • which is sin

But the good leaven is the work of the Holy Spirit within us to develop us with character so that we can be ready for the resurrection, which is the harvest of the firstfruits.

Jesus said, v 21: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but the one who is doing the will of My Father, Who is in heaven." That's exactly what Jesus said He was doing. All of us have to do the will of the Father.

  • everything that Jesus taught

  • everything that Jesus said

  • everything that Jesus did

was what the Father instructed Him to do. In John 5 He says, 'Of Myself I can do nothing. But the Father does the works in Me.'

John 4:34: "Jesus said to them, 'My meat is to do the will of Him Who sent Me, and to finish His work." This is the important thing for us.

The harvest is seven weeks; that pictures the length of time literally; it pictures the time prophetically. But every harvest has to begin with the seed, the sowing of the seed, which is the Word of God, and the seed of the begettal from God the Father so that we are His children, and that we grow in grace and knowledge until the day that we die in the faith or until the day of the resurrection if we're alive when that occurs.

The important thing to remember here is that we never slack up, that we never give up, never stop what we are doing. We are constantly doing what God wants us to do. This is our heart, mind, soul, being and goal! How can there be anything greater than what God is offering us? Eternal life as spirit beings in New Jerusalem, to live forever as His sons and daughters! Brethren, this is a fantastic day, because this day will finish that work!

Verse 35: "Do not say that there are yet four months, and then the harvest comes…. [that's down to the harvest leading up to the Feast of Tabernacles] …I say to you, look around. Lift up your eyes and see the fields, for they are already white to harvest." That's the wheat and barley harvest of the firstfruits.

Jesus is saying and comparing this to the work of the Church leading up to the resurrection at Pentecost. Notice what He says, because this has been going on clear back to Abel, the Prophets, the kings and the priests who were faithful.

Now then, there are two loaves:

  1. all of those from Abel down to the time of Christ

  2. all of those from the time of Christ until His return

They are all raised together. That's why they bring the two loaves as depicted in Lev. 23.

Verse 36: "And the one who reaps receives a reward, and gathers fruit unto eternal life…" That's what we do. Our fruits:

  • the way we live

  • the way we think

  • all the things that we do

the way that we

  • love God

  • pray to God

  • love our neighbors

  • love the brethren

All of these things together. We need to hold fast to the doctrine, the teachings! There were those who were saying that the resurrection was already over. Well, they sure missed the point—didn't they?

"…so that the one who is sowing and the one who is reaping may both rejoice together. For in this the saying is true, that one sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap that in which you have not labored…" (vs 36-38).

  • you didn't sow it

  • you didn't write the Old Testament

  • you didn't preach the prophecies about Jesus Christ

  • you didn't do any of those things

One day Jesus called and said, 'Come, I'll make you fishers of men!'

"…others have labored and you have entered into their labor" (v 38). Isn't that true today? Everything that we have God prepared and was ready before any of us were ever born—that is for us who are alive today.

  • that's why we have the Bible

  • that's why we have the Word of God

  • that's why we have this video communication that now we can send around the world 7 days a week, 24 hours a day

Think on that! That fulfills what Jesus said to the disciples when they wanted to know if the kingdom was going to come right now. He said, 'You're to be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.' We are preaching the words of God:

  • inspired to the apostles, written down

the inspired word of

  • what Moses wrote down

  • what the Prophets wrote down

  • what the Judges wrote down

  • all of that, all of the work of Ezra and the Great Synagogue

  • all the work of writing the New Testament by the apostles

  • all the canonization by Paul and Peter

  • the final canonization by John

    • preserved

    • watched over

    • brought down to our day

Then God has the work that He is doing—through human beings, yes—to reach other human beings. It is a spiritual work, and that's what Pentecost is all about. It is a spiritual thing, empowered by the Spirit of God.

Let's see that Jesus told them, 'You go to Jerusalem and you wait until you are imbued or receive power from on high.' Directly from Jesus Christ and God the Father!

Acts 2—Where did this take place? At the temple of God! Why did it take place there? Because that's where God placed His name! He wanted everyone to know that this was from Him. If it would have been done in country afar off, no one would have accepted it. If it would have been done in Galilee, they would have pooh-poohed it! 'Nothing good comes out of Galilee' is what they say all the time. So, God did it at His temple, where His presence was!

We have another booklet on Pentecost: The True Meaning of Acts 2:1. Sidebar: There is a translation that says 'when the 50th day was completed.' That's incorrect. The Greek is present tense passive, and it's a special infinitive called an articular infinitive, a special use of the Greek to show that during the fulfilling of the Day of Pentecost. God does everything on time; He doesn't do it partly. He doesn't do it after the fact. He does it on the day!

Acts 2:1: "And when the Day of Pentecost, the fiftieth day…"—the first day of the week. The first day of the week is not pagan. God created the first day of the week. When the pagan's come along and say that 'now we're going to change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, the first day of the week,' they are desecrating the first day of the week because God never intended it to be used as a weekly day of worship. It is a weekly day of worship to Baal the sun-god.

This is different. This is the day that God chose. This is the day that God said we are to count to.

"…was being fulfilled, they were all with one accord in the same place. And suddenly there came from heaven… [directly from God] …a sound like the rushing of a powerful wind, and filled the whole house where they were sitting" (vs 1-2).

  • wind

  • air

  • power of the Holy Spirit

  • leaven mixed in with flour

  • then rising

  • baking and permanently changing

When you receive the Holy Spirit of God it's just the start. Just like you put the leaven in the measure of flour. It is to grow, to change; it is to develop you into the final product, which then is completed in Christ: the baked loaves as it were, or the resurrected saints in the spiritual fulfillment.

Verse 3: "And there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire, and sat upon each one of them…. [That's something!] …And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…" (vs 3-4). The power of God; the Holy Spirit is not a person; is not Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is a combination of the begettal of God the Father and the Spirit of Christ. That is Biblical!

"…and they began to speak with other languages…" (v 4). The King James says 'tongues.' That comes from the Greek word 'glossa'—languages, or speaking with your tongue in a language. Not a pentecostal nonsense thing that people do: yelling, screaming and jumping up and down, taking God's name in vain, repeating it over and over. Didn't Jesus say not to do like the heathen do, where they think their many repetitions are going to be heard. This was serious; this was from God!

"…as the Spirit gave them the words to proclaim" (v 4). Very interesting! This was a miracle. They were speaking in their mind with their own words, but out came the words of different languages. Everyone from the different areas—we won't go through and read where they all came from—heard them speak in their own language the wonderful works of God! Why did God do this?

Verse 5: "Now, there were many Jews who were sojourning in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven." To the Jew first! How about that? There were also Gentiles there, called proselytes. God fulfills His Word and His promises every single time! He never fails!

  • God is righteous!

  • God is faithful!

  • God is good!

  • God is true!

He never misses a thing!

Verse 6: "And when word of this went out, the multitude came together and were confounded, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were all amazed, and marveled, saying to one another, 'Behold, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?'" (vs 6-7). It wasn't the priests; it wasn't the Levites. Galileans, fishermen, hello! A major change—right? Yes, indeed! This turned Jerusalem and the whole area of Judea upside down, because of the power of the apostles and the power of the Holy Spirit, and the miracles that they were doing.

So then, it lists all of that after they were perplexed and asked, 'What does this mean?'

Verse 13: "But others were mocking and saying, 'They are full of new wine.' Then Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and spoke out to them: 'Men, Jews, and all those of you who inhabit Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and pay attention to my words. for these are not drunken as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day'" (vs 13-15).

Let's get a little more background with all the Jews there. Remember that this is just seven weeks and four days after the crucifixion and resurrection. Remember all the strange things that happened there:

  • darkness from noon until 3 pm

  • the breaking of the veil in two

  • the earthquake that took place

  • the crucifixion of Christ

  • the death of Christ

Just think of those who went back to the areas, at least close enough to Jerusalem so they could get there for the Feast of Pentecost, they told of all these strange things going on, and the message that came out from them that the disciples stole the body away. But they never found the body. What was this? What was going on?

Of course, they didn't know anything about the 40 days and 40 nights that Jesus showed Himself to the disciples. Here this is a fantastic day that is occurring. Notice that when we read the next verses that it ties in with not only the resurrection of Christ, His ascension to heaven, the finishing of the firstfruit harvest picturing the firstborn, the firstlings in the harvest of the resurrection when Christ returns, but also Peter brings out a prophecy that has a duel application at the end when the saints are resurrected.

Verse 16: "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: 'And it shall come to pass in the last days,' says God, 'that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh…'" (vs 16-17). He didn't pour it out on all flesh, just those that He called. So, this is a prophecy that it will go further!

"'…and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and even upon My servants and upon My handmaids will I pour out My Spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy; and I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and vapors of smoke'" (vs 17-19). That's the second return of Christ! But there was darkness during the day that Jesus was crucified, as we read here:

Verse 20: "The sun shall be turned into darkness… [it did when He died] …and the moon into blood… [we don't know what it was like then, but the blood moons are different from what they claim that it is today] …before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord."

Notice that here comes the division, v 21: "And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Then Peter tells them all about Jesus Christ:

  • that He was killed

  • that He was put in the grave

  • that the promise was made that He would not see corruption

That what happened that it was not David who was resurrected—because his grave was still there—but it was Jesus Christ Who was resurrected.

Verse 32: "This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore, having been exalted by the right hand of God, and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He has poured out this that you are now seeing and hearing. For David has not ascended into the heavens, but he himself said, 'The Lord said to my Lord… [How many are in the Godhead? Two! Not three!] …"Sit at My right hand until I have made Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."' Therefore, let all the house of Israel know with full assurance that God has made this same Jesus, Whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (vs 32-36).

Verse 37: "Now, after hearing this, they were cut to the heart; and they said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' Then Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you yourselves shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (vs 37-38).

So, the Holy Spirit came in a powerful way on the Day of Pentecost! Then 3,000 were baptized that day. Quite an amazing thing—isn't it? Yes, indeed!

  • Acts 3—the miracles that they did

  • Acts 4-5—the disciples were brought in before the Sanhedrin

  • Acts 5—after the performed the miracles, they all prayed and God shook the place where they were

Notice what happened with the power of the Holy Spirit, Acts 5:12: And many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch."

Right at the temple! Right where the priests condemned Jesus, planned His death, paid Judas to betray Him. Right there, right in front of them this is going on day after day, week after week. That's why they wanted to destroy the apostles! Look at what was happening! How dare they make their headquarters right there in the temple area.

Verse 13: "And none of the others dared to join them, but the people magnified them; and believers were added all the more to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women)" (vs 13-14). They were turning Jerusalem upside down! Amazing thing—isn't it?

Verse 15: Insomuch that the people were bringing out the sick into the streets and putting them on beds and stretchers, so that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them"—and be healed! That set the Jews on edge!

You can read the rest of it. They arrested them, put all the apostles in jail; an angel let them out at night. Early in the morning they went into the temple and were teaching. They sent the guards to get them out of prison, and they said, 'They're not there!' While they were telling the Sanhedrin that they weren't there, someone came running in and said, 'The ones you put in prison are out there preaching in the temple. This was a catastrophe of a major proportion!

Needless to say, things developed from there. That's how the Church started: with power; with the Spirit of God! Then you read everything that took place with the book of Acts. You read the things concerning:

  • what they did

  • what they taught

  • what they preached

  • what they wrote

They all looked toward the resurrection.

Now what we are going to do is go forward with this, and we are going to come to the book of Revelation and see something very interesting. The book of Revelation is laid out in quite a pattern.

There are other Scriptures that we could add to the things that we have covered, but we have many Pentecosts, and everything is different from Pentecost to Pentecost. We cover certain things at one Pentecost and other things at other Pentecosts.

What we are going to do is look at the pattern here in the book of Revelation. We need to understand how this is laid out.

Overview of the Book of Revelation

Revelation 1 : he message from Christ to the Apostle John; the Passover and resurrection of Jesus Christ

This shows a Passover leading up to Pentecost. It first talks about the message from Jesus Christ. He was the Firstborn from the dead (v 5). That was at the end of the weekly Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. So, we have Passover and Unleavened Bread here.

Verse 5: "And from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn from the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood." The whole purpose and meaning of the Passover.

John brings out what we are to do when we are resurrected, v 6: "And has made us…" This is what is called prophetic perfect prophetic. It is spoken of as if it has already happened.

"…kings and priests to God and His Father; to Him be the glory and the sovereignty into the ages of eternity. Amen." (v 6). It starts out with Christ and goes clear to the plan of God, clear on in to what we have in Rev. 21 & 22 with New Jerusalem and the new heavens and the new earth. The Word of God is layered and layered, multiple meanings within many of the different verses.

Then Christ give another promise, and we will see how this is done, v 7: "Behold, He is coming with the clouds…" Remember the angel said, 'You're looking at Him. Why stand here weeping?' He disappeared in the clouds and He's coming in the same way.

"…and every eye shall see Him… [How is that going to work? It means every eye.] …and those who pierced Him…" (v 7). This has a dual meaning:

  1. those who crucified Him

  2. the one who thrust the sword in His side up to His heart.

But that probably won't take place until the second resurrection. Think on that!

"…and all the tribes of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen" (v 7). They're all going to fight Christ and the saints when they return to the earth. See how all of these verses are packed with meaning!

Verse 8: "'I am the Alpha and the Omega… [that tells us that Christ endorsed the New Testament being written in Greek] …the Beginning and the Ending,' says the Lord, 'Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come—the Almighty.'"

Remember that God appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shaddai, the Almighty God! He did not appear as YHVH to them, but He did to the children of Israel. He said, 'I AM that I AM!' In the New Testament, the sacred names are: the Father and the Son Jesus Christ! That's it!

Verse 9: "I, John, who am also your brother and joint partaker in the tribulation and in the kingdom and endurance of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Day of the Lord… [the end] …and I heard a loud voice like a trumpet behind me, saying, 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, and What you see, write in a book, and send it to the churches that are in Asia: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.' And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me; and when I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of man… [Jesus Christ]" (vs 9-13)—as the sun shinning in its full strength!

Brethren, this is what we are going to look like when we are in glory raised from the dead. We will have a glorious body like His. The seed is planted; it must grow and come to maturity! It is harvested, stored away, and then the resurrection and we're raised!

Verse 17, after seeing this great powerful thing: "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if dead… [Whoa! I imagine so!] …but He laid His right hand upon me, saying to me, 'Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last, even the One Who is living; for I was dead, and behold, I am alive into the ages of eternity. Amen. And I have the keys of the grave and of death'" (vs 17-18). That ties right in with what Jesus said concerning eternal life. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life! He alone has that key!

Verse 19: "Write the things that you saw… [which John did] …and the things that are… [the seven churches] …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).

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Pentecost has so many things attached to it, leading up to it. It's all the work of the Church, all the work of Christ and God the Father all put together. Brethren, it is a tremendous, wonderful and exciting thing that God is doing for us and through us and to us and all His people. We need to be zealous and excited about it!

I know there are many things concerning Pentecost that you need to have an understanding of. This is what we have the book: God's Plan for Mankind Revealed by the Sabbath and Holy Days. If you do not have this book, and if you do not have the four CDs of sermon transcripts that go with it—sermons that I have given through the years—covering many, many different aspects concerning the time before Pentecost, during Pentecost and after Pentecost, which then are virtually impossible to cover in one sermon. I think there are a number of sermons leading up to Pentecost, then Pentecost, the meaning of Pentecost, the firstfruits and all the details of it that is impossible to do in one sermon.

What we're going to do now is more of an overview and look at chapters here in the book of Revelation and let's see the things that transpire. We won't get into the details of it.

Here is a key, Revelation 1:19: "Write the things that you saw…" Did the apostles write? Yes! Peter, James, John, Mark, Paul; all of them! God wants it written down. He doesn't want it like other men—most—say, 'Well, it's passed down by word of mouth for a couple of hundred years before it was written down, so we can't know how accurate it really is.' NO! Jesus commanded them as we saw; they are eyewitnesses. They were to preach and teach and write it down. God's Word is multi-layered, multi-purposed, dual and triple meaning out of the verses. Let's see that expressed here:

Verse 19: "Write the things that you saw and the things that are, and the things that shall take place hereafter." It starts out with the seven churches. Isn't that interesting, that we are called the Church of the Firstfruits, the Church of the Firstborn? Christ the Firstfruit then those who are His at His coming.

Revelation 2 & 3 : The seven churches represent three things:

  1. the churches that were in existence at that time

  2. the churches down through history from that time until the end

  3. at the end-time the fulfillment is there are seven Churches of God on the earth exactly as it is brought out here in Rev. 2 & 3 from God's perspective looking down on the earth

No corporate church organization is any one of these singular churches here! Another meaning of it:

  1. the seven attitudes that prevail through all the Churches of God going down through history

There are seven churches; how many weeks are there to the harvest? Seven! This is all in the time setting of the fulfilling of the meaning leading up to the final Pentecost.

Revelation 4 : a foretaste of the resurrection

Verse1: "After these things I looked, and behold, a door opened in heaven; and the first voice that I heard was as if a trumpet were speaking with me, saying, 'Come up here, and I will show you the things that must take place after these things.'"

These are the things concerning the seven churches up to the point just before the return of Christ, then this can have that fulfillment in the second of application of it. The first application is when John went up there and saw. But as it falls in history it takes us clear out in time.

Verse 2: "And immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold… [the Spirit took John up right to the throne of God] …and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One was sitting on the throne." Then it describes Him, the Almighty God! It says what He looks like, the throne and the 24 elders, the Sea of Glass, the rainbow all around the throne, and thousands of angels and the four living creatures.

Verse 8: "And each of the four living creatures had six wings respectively; and around and within they were full of eyes; and day and night they cease not saying, 'Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was, and Who is, and Who is to come.'"

We have a hymn in our hymnal that is to the Almighty God, taken from this right here! In the hymn we cover the whole plan of God.

Verse 9: "And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanksgiving to Him Who sits on the throne, Who lives into the ages of eternity." Think about that term: "…ages of eternity." Brethren, we are going to share that; we are going to live that! I hope that this helps us expand our horizons; expand our understanding of the plan of God and the Word of God. How great a blessing it is to be called and to know these things! What happens then?

Verse 10: "The twenty-four elders fall down before Him Who sits on the throne; and they worship Him Who lives into the ages of eternity, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 'Worthy are You, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power because You did create all things, and for Your will they were created and exist'" (vs 10-11).

Think about that! Everything that exists physical out there, everything that is spiritual, and what John is writing here are things composed of spirit: spirit beings, spirit angels, spirit things. We have physical things like this desk from which I give my sermons; that's composed of the dust of the earth. But it's not a living being. Many of the things, like the Sea of Glass and the throne, they are not living beings, but they're composed of spirit for spirit beings! Think of that, brethren! We are going to become spirit beings!

Revelation 5 : events at the end-time begin to be fulfilled

Comes right up to the end, right in the days that are just ahead of us and all the things that are going to take place. Here is the Lamb of God that has seven horns on His head. Those seven horns are the seven churches, and Jesus is the Head. He is worthy to open all the seals of the book, unfolding all the events at the end-time, so they come like horses let loose.

There has to be a buildup to that point. This is something! This is one of the most magnificent parts of the Bible. Let's read it and go forward and see the things that will take place, and understand that God is going to do a great Pentecost work, which will be the harvest of the 50th day. Whereas, the churches were the harvest of the seven weeks. That is going to be awesome thing.

This is in preparation for all the things that are going to take place when all of the events scheduled for the end-time began to be fulfilled.

Verse 7: "And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him Who sits on the throne. And when He took the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having harps and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song…" (vs 7-9). This is the song we will sing, but just like the hymns about things that are going to take place, likewise they sing the same hymn, but it applies to the saints. It says, "…the prayers of the saints."

Verse 9: "And they sang a new song, saying, 'Worthy are You to take the book, and to open its seals because You were slain, and did redeem us to God by Your own blood, out of every tribe and language and people and nation."

The 24 elders were not redeemed out of the earth. They were created as spirit beings. This is talking about what we are as human beings now.

Verse 10: "'And did make us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth.'" In The Messiah that Handel wrote is one of the most magnificent things that has been done in music to honor God. This is quite a thing that is taking place here at the throne of God and with Jesus Christ at His right hand. The 24 elders, the four living creatures and multiple thousands of angels rejoicing:

  • that God's plan is going to be completed

  • that God is going to bring about the will of His purpose for mankind

  • that God is going to let Christ open those seven seals and all of the events at the end-time and everything prophesied through the Bible—up to this point—will be fulfilled in a step-by-step manner

Verse 11: "And I saw and I heard the voices of many angels around the throne, and the voices of the living creatures and the elders, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, 'Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory and blessing'" (vs 11-12).

Remember, what Paul wrote back in Rom. 8 that the 'whole creation is groaning in pain until now, waiting for the sons of God, waiting for the sons of God, waiting for the return of Christ. Here it is right here:

Verse 13: "And every creature that is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and those that are on the sea, and all the things in them, I heard saying, 'To Him Who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing, and honor, and glory, and sovereignty into the ages of eternity.'" So fantastic is this that 24 elders cast their thrones down and worshiped God.

Verse 14: "And the four living creatures said, 'Amen.' And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him Who lives into the ages of eternity."

Revelation 6 : Jesus prepares to open the seals

  • First seal—false prophet

  • Second seal—the beast power, and the war and tribulation that he starts

  • Third seal—famine

  • Fourth seal—death

  • Fifth seal—martyrdom of the saints

It's going to look like to the people on earth that this is going to end the human race, but God is not done. Satan the devil, the demons and the nations are not done. God is going to do something when He opens the sixth seal. Christ is going to reveal Himself in such an awesome and powerful way that it is going to cause a tremendous thing to happen in the earth—both good and evil!

Verse 12: "And when He opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake…" When earthquakes happen, there's great damage, but this is going to be the greatest earthquake in the history of the world.

"…and the sun became black as the hair of sackcloth…" (v 12). Isn't that what Peter prophesied from Joel in Acts 2? Yes!

"…and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its untimely figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then… [so the earthquake introduces it] …the heaven departed like a scroll…" (vs 12-14). Whoa! Something that has never occurred in the history of mankind.

Notice what this does, because this fulfills the prophecy that says, 'I will shake the heavens; I will shake the earth; I will shake the sea.' The whole world is going to suffer from this.

"…that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place" (v 14). Think of the death and destruction! That is going to stop short everything right there! This is about two years into the three and a half year end-time. We will see that this happens just before Pentecost, and then God does something in Rev. 7 that is absolutely amazing!

Verse 15: "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the powerful men, and every bondman, and every free man hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains." What does this tell us? Everyone on earth is going to be affected when this takes place! Think about that! Think of what a great thing this is. Remember where we read, 'Every eye shall see Him' (Rev. 1). We will answer the question: What will they see?

Verse 16: "And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, 'Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him Who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of His wrath has come, and who has the power to stand?'" (vs 16-17).

There's going to be an event that is going to take place, which is going to shock the world. Satan is already preparing the world for it by talking about and having people imagine and plan for the invasion of aliens from outer space.

Let's see what Jesus Himself said about His return. He says that there's great tribulation and the time is limited. He said that if they tell you Christ is in the desert, don't go there. If He's in a secret place, don't go there. This is how He's going to come:

Matthew 24:27: "For as the light of day, which comes forth from the east and shines as far as the west, so also shall the coming of the Son of man be." How does Jesus reveal Himself first?

  • By ripping the heavens apart!

  • Shaking the heavens!

  • Shaking the earth!

  • Shaking the sea!

  • It affects every human being on earth!

What are they going to see? When the heaven parts as a scroll and they look up there, they are going to see a second sun, which then is 'the sign of the Son of man.'

Verse 29: "But immediately after the tribulation of those days…" The tribulation is three and a half years. In Hosea 5 & 6 it shows that against Israel it lasts two years.

"…the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken" (v 29). That means that at the time of the shaking of the heavens and the earth about two years have been used against Israel and there is about a year and a half left.

What they're going to see is, v 30: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together His elect…" (vs 30-31)—and taken directly to the Sea of Glass.

When that appears it's going to be the shaking of the heavens and the earth, which brings the Tribulation against Israel to a halt. What happens at that time? The fulfilling of the prophecy of the repentance of Israel, beginning with the 144,000!

Revelation 7 : represents the Pentecost of the 50th day, which represents the harvest of God on the next to the last Pentecost

He is going to seal them with His Holy Spirit, just like He sealed the apostles and those there on the Day of Pentecost at the temple with the Holy Spirit of God.

Have you ever seen what happens in an earthquake? or a hurricane? or tornado? Everything is destroyed, and what people do, they immediately get out and they start handling all the damage, moving it away, clearing the roads, etc. This is what they are going to have to do after the shaking of the heavens, the earth, the sea and the dry land. That stops the Tribulation temporarily. That ends it for Israel and those who repent.

Until we come to Rev. 8 and between the time of Pentecost and Trumpets is about 15-16 weeks, just right at four months. That will give them time to get their armies reorganized. That will give them time to clear out the roads. That will give them time to re-supply the ammunition and whatever they have for destructive powers.

Also, we are going to see some tremendous things that take place with this battle after God's harvest. This is God's special Pentecost sealing of the 144,000 and the great innumerable multitude on the next to the last Pentecost, the one just before the Pentecost of the resurrection.

We will see that these people obviously repent. And, of course, after seeing all the things that have gone on and everything that they went through, we are told in Lev. 26 & Deut. 28, and also Deut. 4 that when they are in captivity they will repent.

The heavens roll back, the new sun appears—that's the sign of the Son of man—and it looks like a new sun because it's shinning day after day, just like another sun. Christ has not yet come to the earth, but every eye will see Him!

Verse 1: "And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that the wind might not blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree." Right after that there's a sudden great calm. Everything comes to standstill!

Verse 2: "Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to damage the earth and the sea, saying, 'Do not damage the earth, or the sea, or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads'" (vs 1-3). That's how they are going to receive the Holy Spirit from God.

Verse 4: "And I heard the number of those who were sealed: one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel." The 144,000 are from the 12 tribes of Israel, who are in captivity!

After this, v 9: "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one was able to number, out of every nation and tribe and people and language, was standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and holding palms in their hands." This is where they will be after the resurrection. Remember how I discussed that there is perfect prophetic; in other words, already accomplished, but in a timeframe not yet done. That's what this is, because everyone is going to be resurrected on the same day. But these are not resurrected, but it's showing that they will be.

Verse 13: "And one of the elders answered and said to me, 'These who are clothed with white robes, who are they, and where did they come from?' Then I said to him, 'Sir, you know.'…. [John didn't know] …And he said to me, 'They are the ones who have come out of the Great Tribulation; and they have washed their robes, and have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb.'" (vs 13-14). These are the ones who are saved out of the Great Tribulation!

So, this Pentecost that this occurs is the next to the greatest Pentecost, which will be the following one, the next year at the resurrection.

The time span from Pentecost to Trumpets is 15-16 weeks. All the armies, fighting, warring is stopped during the time that they were cleaning up the mess from the shaking of the heavens, the earth and the sea, etc. Now starts the fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets. This fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets runs all the way down to after the resurrection and it ends with the next Trumpets with Christ and the saints coming down to the earth.

Then we have what happens in Revelation 8, 9, 10 coming just before the resurrection.

Revelation 11 : two witnesses; mark of the beast

In the Hebrew alphabet there are 22 letters. It is interesting that in the book of Revelation there are 22 chapters. The middle chapter—Rev. 11—shows a setting in Jerusalem that gives us a look back, so we can know what was going on up to the time that the resurrection occurred, which then is the two witnesses who prophesy for 1, 260 days.

The beast is after them to get rid of them, to kill them, but they can't do it because fire comes out of their mouth and devours their enemies. Finally, right at the end, just before the resurrection with the last Pentecost the two witnesses are killed. The world celebrates!

Verse 8: "And their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those of the peoples and tribes and languages and nations shall see their bodies three and a half days, for they will not allow their bodies to be put into tombs. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, and will make merry, and will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets had tormented those who dwell on the earth" (vs 8-10).

They'll all be able to see it. I think that's why we have all of this so-called 'modern technology,' that God has given that so that everyone in the world will knowand everyone in the world will see! That's a tremendous thing!

Revelation 14 : another 144,000; harvest of the saints

This is another very interesting chapter; it starts out with the 144,000, which are from the earth, different from the children of Israel. How they fit into God's plan, we'll have to wait for the resurrection and find out.

This, again, takes us back to the beginning of the Tribulation. Just before the beginning of the Tribulation all the saints have been martyred. Those who are going to a place of safety are carried to a place of safety by the angels. Now God is going to warn the world with three angels!

Verse 6: "And I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and language and people; saying with a loud voice, 'Fear God, and give glory to Him, because the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him Who made the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.'" (vs 6-7). That's the first angel.

Verse 8: "Then another angel followed, saying, 'The great city Babylon is fallen, is fallen…'" That is a warning that it is coming down!

Verse 9: "And a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives the mark in his forehead or in his hand, he shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed undiluted in the cup of His wrath; and he shall be tormented in fire and brimstone in the sight of the Holy angels, and of the Lamb'" (vs 9-10).

God gives a warning before the event occurs!. This does not happen afterward. How do we know it happens before the Tribulation begins? Before the mark of the beast is enforced? I'll just give an analogy: You're driving your car and you get in a wreck. Someone comes up to you and says, 'You should have been careful not to have the wreck.' He looks back at you and says, 'Why didn't you tell me before it occurred.'

It does no good to say you should have been careful. If he were told ahead of time to be careful, then he could have avoided it. So, likewise with the mark of the beast!

Here comes the next Pentecost. We already saw the first phase of it, beginning with the two witnesses (Rev. 11)—the kingdoms of this world became the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and giving reward to the servants and the Prophets; they are raised from the dead.

Here's another view of it, v 15: "And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him Who was sitting on the cloud, 'Thrust in your sickle and reap, because the time has come for You to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.' And He Who was sitting on the cloud thrust forth His sickle upon the earth, and the earth was reaped" (vs 15-16). This is the harvest of the saints!

The next one is the angel who has a sharp sickle that comes out of the temple and it gathers the grapes in the clusters. This represents the seven last plagues, and the things that come upon them.

Revelation 15 : When we're raised to meet Christ in the air

Those who are dead will be raised first. We will be changed in an instant, 'in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet.' The trumpet shall sound—there is one trumpet on Pentecost—and the dead shall be raised. Then those who are left alive will be changed and caught up in the air to meet Christ in the air. Where are we going to meet Christ in the air? It's right here:

Verse 1: "Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and awesome: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is filled up. And I saw a sea of glass mingled with fire… [hearken back to Rev. 4 & 5] …and those who had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, standing on the Sea of Glass, having the lyres of God" (vs 1-2). We're going to know how to play those right away.

Verse 3: "And they were singing the song of Moses, the servant of God… [that's all those who come into the first resurrection, that come through what we call the Old Testament] …and the song of the Lamb… [all of those coming through the New Testament] …saying, 'Great and awesome are Your works, Lord God Almighty; righteous and true are Your ways, King of the saints."

What's going to happen while we are on the Sea of Glass? God is going to show us many different things!

First of all, when we're resurrected we are a new creation completed. When Adam and Eve were the new creation completed, God had in their minds a language already in place, because He talked to them.

Do you not suppose that God will do the same thing for those who are resurrected from the dead? Stop and think about that for just a minute! If God did not do that, and we all retained the language that we had while we were just physical beings, how could we communicate with one another? How could God communicate with us unless He gives us the language of spirit beings in our minds when we're resurrected?

What else is going to happen? Everything is going to be new! First of all let's look at the things that are going to take place there. Here are at least seven things that will take place:

  1. the saints will receive their new name

Who are you? we'll have to understand what God's language is if He's going to give us a new name!

  1. all the saints will receive their rewards

They will be according to how our works have been.

  1. the saints will receive their assignments as kings and priests

    • What are we going to do, Lord?

    • Where are we going to go, Lord?

    • How is going to be done, Lord?

    • What do You want us to do?

All of that will be discussed! Also, I am sure that before even these things are done, that we're going to be presented to God the Father by Jesus Christ as the harvest that the Father has done. We will all be His sons and His daughters! Think on that! Think about everything that's going to take place here.

  1. the marriage of the Lamb will take place

  2. the marriage supper will take place

We're going to be rejoicing, shouting hallelujah!

  1. all those resurrected on the Sea of Glass will be able to see the seven last plagues poured out, the vengeance of God, upon this earth (Rev. 16)

The seventh plague will be the Battle of Armageddon!

  1. We're all ready to go!

Here we are all on the Sea of Glass, that sun that they saw out there for a year and a half, just before Pentecost, He swooshes down to the Sea of Glass, and there we will be on that Sea of Glass raised and brought there by the angels presented to God the Father.

Think of the magnificent ceremonies that are going to take place. We will be there from Pentecost until Trumpets. We will be fully equipped, fully ready, understanding what we need to do, and then we will come back down to the earth on Trumpets and we will take over the rule of this earth. We will be used of God as kings and priests to usher in the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ and the great harvest of God that will take place at that time.

Brethren, Pentecost has great and fantastic meaning!

I know that in covering it in an overview there are many details that have been left out. But don't forget this book: God's Plan for Mankind Revealed by the Sabbath and Holy Days. It has four audio CDs to go with it. We cover everything in great detail with this. You write in for it if you don't have it. If you have it, go back and study it again. This Feast of Pentecost is a great Feast.

  • This is the goal for us!

  • This is the fulfillment for us!

  • This is the completion for us!

This is where we all hear, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord!'

Scriptural References:

  1. Exodus 34:18-23

  2. Leviticus 23:15-17

  3. Matthew 13:33

  4. John 4:30-33

  5. Matthew 7:20-21

  6. John 4:34-38

  7. Acts 2:1-7, 13-21, 32-38

  8. Acts 5:12-15

  9. Revelation 1:5-13, 17-20, 19

  10. Revelation 4:1-2, 8-11

  11. Revelation 5:7-14

  12. Revelation 6:12-17

  13. Matthew 24:27, 29-31

  14. Revelation 7:1-4, 9, 13-14

  15. Revelation 11:8-10

  16. Revelation 14:6-10, 15-16

  17. Revelation 15:1-3

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Leviticus 7:12-13

  • John 5

  • Acts 3; 4

  • Revelation 21; 22; 2; 3

  • Romans 8

  • Hosea 5; 6

  • Revelation 8

  • Leviticus 26

  • Deuteronomy 28; 4

  • Revelation 9; 10

  • Revelation 16

Also referenced:

Booklets:

  • Count to Pentecost by Fred R. Coulter

  • The True Meaning of Acts 2:1 by Fred R. Coulter

Book: God's Plan for Mankind Revealed by the Sabbath and Holy Days by Fred R. Coulter

BOOKS