Therefore leaving the First Principles (Word of the beginning) of the doctrine of Christ, let us GO ON to perfection (maturity) "......Heb 6:1. For many people the Christian life is simply believing the Gospel and being "saved", then holding on, and waiting until Jesus comes. The prophet Isaiah spoke of a people "robbed and spoiled". Isa. 42:22. This would probably describe the experience of many, who have failed to see the whole purpose of God for us today. It is true, so far as our personal experience is concerned, that as we appropriate the "PASSOVER LAMB", we are delivered from Egypt and the Power of Pharaoh is broken. However this is not the end of the story but simply the beginning. We are no longer "SLAVES TO SIN", Rom.6:l7-l8) but set free to be the servants of the Lord.
What value would there have been for Israel, if after that Passover night, they had remained in Egypt, and had not begun that journey to a new land, which the Lord had provided for them. They would have remained slaves to Pharaoh and life would have continued exactly as it was before. That journey involves LEAVING BEHIND our old consciousness and experiencing the reality of God in every day life. This involves proving his faithfulness and knowing he is able to meet our every need.
On that day of Passover in Egypt Israel killed the lamb and sprinkled blood on the door posts and lintel, with shoes on their feet and their loins girded, with their staff in their hand for God said " you will eat it in haste." Sprinkling the blood and eating the Lamb would have little effect, unless Israel LEFT THE LAND OF EGYPT. In scripture, Egypt represents the "ADAM CONSCIOUSNESS," which will keep you in bondage all your life, even while attending Church!
Let me ask you as you read these words, "Have you experienced a release from the BONDAGE AND POWER OF SIN, allowing you to now choose WHOM YOU WILL SERVE?" Or have you known that you sins are forgiven, yet you have remained under the same bondage to sin so that in reality nothing has changed?
It is most important for us to experience a DELIVERANCE FROM SIN, in terms of the ROOT and not just the FRUIT. On leaving Egypt, Israel crossed the Red Sea on dry ground and saw their enemies who had enslaved them, destroyed, never to rise again. Have you stepped out under the Cloud into the Wilderness, with a confidence that God is in control of your life, and YOU ARE FREE?
We are reminded, that Israel was to appear BEFORE THE LORD three times a year at the time of these feasts. In our experience today, we are not required to keep the feasts literally, but they do represent to us aspects of the three major emphasis of the Gospel, which we need to know by divine revelation, and experience, that is, the DEATH, BURIAL and RESURRECTION of Christ.
Passover, introduces us to that DEATH experience, having DIED IN HIM, thus forfeiting our Adamic life in order to gain His. This is the only way we can be freed from the bondage of Pharaoh, who is represented in our lives as "ADAM." He was made A LIVING SOUL, and by NATURAL BIRTH we are the same, inheriting from our parents that which has come from him. Jesus tells us plainly, "That which is BORN OF FLESH IS FLESH." We must personally see God's judgment on ADAM enacted as we DIE IN CHRIST on Calvary's cross.
In PENTECOST, we learn to identifv with Christ in his BURIAL, not just in the three days and nights He was in the bowels of the earth, but His whole EARTHLY LIFE. So in Pentecost we also experience the reality of being LOCKED UP TO GOD, as was Jesus, who said, "Lo in the volume of the Book it is written of me, I come to do thy will 0 God". Like Abraham, not having seen the fulfillment of all the promises, YET WE BELIEVE GOD, and so it is counted to us for RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Having now caught your attention, let us pursue this journey where we will discover how our "GOING ON" is designed to affect us. Have you ever wondered why Israel had to cross the wilderness? Israel only knew the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who was just a historical God to them, so that they needed to know for themselves, the God of Israel. God had prepared a land flowing with milk and honey for His people to dwell in, but human nature is such that the first reasonable land they saw, would be as far as they would want to go. But Canaan is a prepared land for a prepared people. In today's terms, I honestly believe few Christians are desperate, for the reality of those "heavenly places" In Christ Jesus, represented by Canaan, being content with their possessions down here, in this worldly scene, and rejoicing in such spurious doctrines as those concerning "prosperity".
The progression of the Christian Life is spelt out clearly, in the history of Israel, and recorded for us in great detail in the scriptures. That same night, and surely Israel knew what darkness was all about, they moved out of Egypt, collecting great wealth as they went. To the carnal mind, this has great appeal but it is important to understand the circumstances in which they received it. Firstly it was payment for services rendered, as slaves making bricks for Pharaoh. Secondly, this was not simply "trading" finance, Israel received, for where would they spend it in a wilderness? No, whatever the Lord released unto them through Passover, was His provision, to carry them through to the promised land. The spiritual import of these gifts, is sufficient to allow us to satisfy the Lord in lifes journey.
How many today "Believe" God for blessing upon their business, and prosperity for their lives, to selfishly indulge themselves, considering only 10% belongs to the Lord, and 90% is theirs to use for their own benefit. But how few understand the principle of "being blessed in order to be a blessing". The Double portion given to the first born in the families of Israel, was not for personal benefit, but so they could assist other members of the family, when they were in need. This beloved is a divine principle.
To Abraham God said, "In blessing I will bless Thee", and this blessing is also enjoyed by his seed, who in turn are destined to bless the Nations. Our release from the World or "Cosmos" through the Passover Lamb, must gender in us a heart of compassion for those still in bondage, until we see every last one, or as Paul says, "ALL OF CREATION" set free to worship the Lord. Now Brethren we get into the Meat.
FEAST OF WEEKS
This is the second of the three main feasts that Israel was commanded to keep. There are so many Christians today, who seek to whole heartedly embrace Passover and the Slain Lamb, but who refuse to enter into the spiritual blessing that Is available to us, and which is an essential part of our development in Christ, in the Feast of Weeks. Remember, God is in control of ALL THINGS and He has determined the pathway we must walk, in order to bring us to His glorious image and likeness. In this study we are discovering some of the life changing experiences that are represented in the Feasts of Israel.
It is common knowledge that the word "Pentecost", has been associated with wild and undisciplined behavior, much of which was just an expression of "SELF", as it came from ADAM. Many outrageous claims have been made, by those purported to be involved with Pentecost, which have brought ridicule to the cause of Christ. All this I do acknowledge, but despite these negatives, there is a REALITY to Pentecost which we will explore, and hopefully enter into.
"You shall count unto you . . .seven Sabbaths shall be complete, even unto the morrow after the Sabbath. Lev. 23:15-22
How important it is for us, to get the story straight, as it is recorded in the scriptures, for every detail is pregnant with meaning, as we study the Most would be familiar with the fact, that the feast of weeks was to be kept on the 50th day after Passover, even the "Morrow after the seventh Sabbath" hence the name in the New Testament is PENTECOST. As far as we can tell this would be the time when Israel had reached Mt Sinai, so it was a most important time for God's people.
Let us ponder for a moment the significance of this Feast of Weeks, which was to be SEVEN SEVENS OR SEVEN WEEKS or literally SEVEN SABBATHS. The beauty of Biblical Numerology can be seen here, because as we have already said, the Feast of Weeks was to commence on the FIFTIETH day after Passover, so that we have seven sevens or WEEKS which is 49days, the next day being the FIFTIETH'. Strongs Concordance says concerning this Hebrew word for "weeks" it is literally "SEVENED" and in the Bible is the number of "COMPLETENESS". We note the completion of Creation was in SEVEN DAYS. I know many will say, God created the heavens and earth in 6 days and rested on the SEVENTH. But let us see what the scripture says, "Thus the Heavens and the Earth were finished and all the host of them and on the SEVENTH GOD ENDED HIS WORK which He had made and God blessed the SEVENTH DAY AND SANCTIFIED IT, for IN IT he ceased from all His work". So we notice, Gods work ended on the 7th day, not the 6th.
How often do we take the word of men instead of searching for truth ourselves. The physical creation was not in itself, the whole of God's purpose, for if that were so, why be concerned for anything more, after that work of creation was completed. But there is much more in the heart of God than the mere creation of the PHYSICAL Heaven and Earth, and all the creatures including Man. For the crowning work of that SEVENTH DAY, was the elevating of all creation into another dimension, as God SANCTIFIES it. The word "SANCTIFY" simply means, TO SET APART for a specific purpose, as illustrated by the sanctification of the vessels in the Tabernacle. But here we see ALL CREATION which the Lord God had made, being SANCTIFIED. The change is from being simply things or objects, to something that will fulfill the purpose of God. Everything God has made, including Man, has a specific purpose. We need to ponder this wonderful truth.
John, on the Isle of Patmos, in the unveiling of Jesus Christ said, "for thy pleasure they are and were created". Rev.4:ll. To Sanctify also means "to be declared." Thus God is indicating, that regardless of what may transpire over the course of history, ALL THINGS will be restored unto Him who has set them apart, on the first Sabbath. This truth is revealed to Peter, who was given a dream, before being sent to Minister to the Gentiles. For even Peter had a distorted vision of God's creation, being affected by the traditions of his culture. In his dream, he saw a certain utensil descending from Heaven as a large sheet with four edges, being let down on the Earth, in which were quadrupeds and reptiles of the Earth. Peter was instructed to kill and eat. But he refused, saying he had never eaten anything common or unclean. Then came the rebuke from the Lord-: "What God cleanses, do not call common". This episode was repeated twice, to reinforce the massage to Peter. In the context of this revelation, it is perfectly clear, the animals and reptiles Peter considered UNCLEAN, referred also to Cornelius and his family, who were not of the tribes of Israel, but were Gentiles. To Peter these "Gentile" people were referred to as HEATHEN and unclean, therefore he felt he could not have anything to do with them. When Christ came, He brought all things back into focus according to the purpose of the Father. As God beheld all of creation he said "BEHOLD IT IS VERY GOOD." On the Seventh Day God blessed and Sanctified it". Peter had to learn that national, cultural and religious differences have nothing to do with Gods view of creation.
The "Sabbath" introduces the change from "DOING" or "ACTIVITY" to "BEING". In Heb 4:1, we discover an Invitation or promise TO US, of "entering into God's rest". Not even Israel, with all their legality and ceremonies enjoyed that "REST" or Sabbath of God, because they failed to appropriate its true significance, and therefore, could not exercise the FAITH necessary to make it a reality. Even today, in the Christian church, we have many who "keep the Sabbath", but who also have never entered into God's rest. Man has always been more interested in the laws and restrictions, in connection with the Sabbath, than entering into Gods rest.
The crowning glory of the days of Creation was not simply to see the "WORK" completed, but to see creation Sanctified i.e. Set apart from that moment, to run its course and function according to the divine plan, fulfilling every last intention of the God who created it, and to see Him ultimately glorified through that creation, as the "LAMB" upon the throne. To enter into "God's rest", is to live TODAY in the reality of the same confidence, God expressed on that FIRST SABBATH when he SET CREATION APART TO FULFIL HIS DIVINE PURPOSE.
We are told that in order to enter into His REST, we must cease from our OWN WORKS, in the same way in which God ceased from his. The Christian life is made to revolve around our personal efforts to conform to the Life of Christ. In this pursuit we expend an enormous amount of time and energy, which would be better spent doing the will of God. To strive by whatever means in order to produce the righteousness or perfection of Christ, is denying the TRUTH expressed in that first Sabbath. God has declared all of creation which included YOU, to be VERY GOOD.
But you say, "Did not sin enter into the world, so that sin and death was passed upon all men?" That is true, however long before Adam sinned all of creation including you, were SANCTIFIED on that first Sabbath, to fulfill the divine will and purpose. This means that nothing that may intervene through the ages can change or alter Gods original intention, that ultimately we stand in his likeness and image. That is why GOD RESTED, because he had confidence in his ability to sustain all of creation right to the end. He is EL-SHADDAI.
On the morrow after the Seven weeks, or seven sevens is 5O days, and ye shall offer a NEW MEAL OFFERING unto the Lord. Now we begin to understand something concerning the significance of the numbers in this scripture, because seven sevens would indicate an emphasis on completeness. So many issues in scripture are associated with these SEVENS. One classic example is found in Dan 9.24-27 where the Lord reveals to the Prophet a time frame for the fulfillment of Gods purposes. Seventy Weeks or Seventy Sevens indicates again "Completeness" in the number seven, and testing in the number 10. So here the prophet signifies the completeness of that process that would result in the reconciliation of ALL unto God.
The seventh day or the Sabbath as it came to be called, is essentially
associated with the finished work of our Creator God. It is interesting to note, during the time of Creation, darkness rises for a time each evening, and seems to swallow up the light, but each morning, God binds the darkness into days of ever increasing blessing, as Genesis records, "The evening and morning made the day". How ever on the SEVENTH DAY we see NO EVENING, for in the COMPLETENESS OF GOD'S WORK, the darkness is totally overcome, swallowed up of the light, and turned into that Perfect Day experience, into which we are now entering.
Thus these SEVEN DAYS are significant in the process, by which we are being changed from what we believe ourselves to be in ADAM, into the reality established in creation, which is CHRIST, who is the image of God. Therefore the Apostle Paul could say, "Ye are complete in Him," which means we become the EXPRESSION of THAT SEVENTH DAY.
THE MEAT OFFERING
In these things we are touching the reality expressed in this Feast of Pentecost. "On the MORROW AFTER the seventh Sabbath, ye shall offer a new "MEAT" offering unto the Lord. Lev 23:15. It is most important, that we notice that the offering was NOT to be made in the land of Egypt, for Israel left that land at Passover, and has experienced "Seven Sevens" or Sabbaths since that time indicating a divine work within. In Egypt, their day was fully organised by Pharaoh, but now their life gained direction from the "cloud" by day, and the "pillar of fire" in the times of darkness, which indicated a new authority in their lives, and involved a new obedience. Having been delivered from death they became servants of righteousness. Now the Lord seeks an offering from HIS people which will indicate the new place into which He has brought them.
This "MEAT" offering is actually a "MEAL" offering of grain as the word for "Meat" here indicates FOOD, especially cereals. They were to take flour and bake it with leaven, into Two Loaves. It is most interesting to contrast this offering, with the offering of the Lamb at Passover, for they are set in stark contrast with each other.
Passover represented Christ as the LAMB of God which taketh away the sin of the world. He was made to be SIN or literally THE SIN (The man of sin which is ADAM) 2 Cor 5:21. However, in the meal offering at Pentecost, the question of "SIn" is not raised at all. The Lamb at Passover, was slain from the DISRUPTION OF THE WORLD, which occurred when Adam sinned in the Garden. However the MEAL OFFERING at Pentecost, represents Man as the processed grain, in perfect obedience to the Spirit within, thus becoming a "SWEET SAVOUR" unto the Lord. Lev 23:18.
The Sin offering involved the shedding of Blood, and thus the giving up of LIFE. In the Meal offering we have NO BLOOD and NO DEATH, but the fruit of the Land. Here we need to understand the place, this "fruit of the Land" has In the economy of God. Back in Gen 1 we read, "Behold I have given to you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of the Earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, TO YOU IT SHALL BE FOR MEAT". Gen 1:29.
The herb and the Tree, was man's allotted portion, provided by God in the beginning. However in contrast to this, the offering of the life of the lamb, was reserved as God's portion, and wholly belonged to Him. However the Meal offering, the gift of grain and oil represents man in his offering, surrendering himself to God, to be united with Him. In both offerings, the offering is the BODY of Jesus which has satisfied both God and man. Without these two distinct offerings, both God and man could not have been perfectly satisfied.
So Israel, as a redeemed people were to bring an offering of two loaves of bread, made with fine flour and mixed with leaven thus signifying they were of the same substance. These two loaves were to be waved before the Lord, together with seven flawless year old he-lambs and one bull calf and two flawless rams as an offering by fire, a sweet smelling savor unto the Lord.
How wonderfully symbolic are these two loaves of bread for us today. To be delivered from the bondage of Egypt is wonderful, but this is only the beginning of the work of restoration, that is in progress with His people. Having kept SEVEN SABBATHS, Israel began to discover they were a "special" people unto the Lord. The number 2, is the number of witness, and brings with it a focus on identification. The two loaves represent the Redeemer and the Redeemed, and the expression of this covenant relationship in the meal offering, was indeed a sweet smelling savor into the Lord.
In the very beginning, we have a revelation of "Elohim",(Gen 1:1) whose very name, describes one who stands in a "Covenant Relationship" with all of his creation. Paul says to the Saints "for we being many are One Bread and One Body, for we are all partakers of that one Bread". I Cor I0:17. Jesus said, "I am the bread of life, he that cometh to Me shall never hunger". John 6:35.
What a wonderful picture these two loaves present to us, of Christ and His people. For as he is, so are we in this world. Jesus prayed, "that they all may be ONE even as we are ONE". Here in the Meal offering, we see the two loaves made from the same flour, uniting God and Man in Christ and His Body. The grain that was waved before the Lord as a SHEAF in PASSOVER, has now been harvested, and processed, so that in PENTECOST it is now fine flour. Finally it is baked with leaven into two loaves, thus presenting a visible witness to the world that God and MAN have become ONE. But just as this Meal offering is called a FIRST PRUITS unto the Lord in the sense of a token of the final harvest, so we are confident the Lord will finish that which He has begun.
In this study, we are looking at the Feast not just in its historical context, but seeking to discover what God is saying to us today in the light of revelation. Those things which seemed to be symbols to Israel, are realities for us today. Pentecost for Israel at this time, carried very little spiritual import, being simply a religious observance. The same situation exists in many cases today with "Pentecostal" people who like Israel have no "harvest" to reap, and therefore no "firstfruits" to present, which denies the Lord that which is his portion.
As near as can be established the keeping of the feast of Weeks or Pentecost, coincided with Israel reaching Hebron the Mountain region, with SINAI as one of its peaks. This is significant for a number of reasons. First of all, Israels coming to Sinai was the fulfillment of a sign of the Lords involvement in their redemption from Egypt, as recorded in Ex 3:12. The Lord indicated they would serve Him right there on that Mountain. It was here some time before that Moses was attracted by a bush that burned with fire but was not consumed. Ex 3:1-4.
There was much in the mind of Moses that needed to be adjusted by the Spirit of God, concerning Himself, before he could become a vessel in Gods hand to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt. In those days and especially in that area, the thing the shepherds feared most was FIRE. However this fire was most unusual, for it did not consume the bush in which it burnt, and this attracted Moses and brought him to stand in the presence of God, WHO IS A CONSUMING FIRE. It is very interesting to note, that when Israel made an offering to the Lord, it was MADE BY FIRE. Gold is purified by fire, so the presence of God within, will bring cleansing and purification, Water also cleanses but has no power to keep the vessel clean, however FIRE reduces everything to its elemental state, and so changing its form permanently.
"And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there are voices, and lightnings, and a heavy cloud, on the mount, and the sound of a trumpet very strong; and all the people who are in the camp do tremble".(Ex l9:16 Voungs). At Mount Sinai, Israel was brought face to face with the Lord God. Such is the power of Gods fire. It is obvious many Christians only experience various degrees of self reformation, which they consider all that is necessary in order to satisfy God. But it was John the Baptist who understood the change that only God could work in our lives when he said, "I indeed baptise you with WATER, but the one coming after me, he shall baptlse you with the Holy Ghost, and WITH FIRE". Matt 3:11. Only then will the DROSS be burnt up and the GOLD will appear. Job 23:10.
No wonder Moses "Hid his face," for he was afraid to look upon God, as he stood before that burning bush. However there is a more subtle work which involves the Fire of God, and that is to reveal the very nature of things, which cannot be discerned by other means. As far as the fire is concerned, there are only TWO categories into which all things fall, and they are things which are combustible, and those which are not.
We have become deceived like Adam in the garden, because we have eaten of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As a result we have lived our lives judging all things on the basis of GOOD and EVIL. Which is a FALSE PERSPECTIVE. How then can we know for sure, if a thing is in accord with Gods purpose or not? The answer is quite simple, JUST EXPOSE IT TO THE FIRE OF GOD, (The SPIRIT) and if it remains unchanged it is part of REALITY. So here we see how the FIRE exposes every thing, as to what sort it really is.
Standing there before that fire of God, Moses saw his own heart exposed, and the attitudes which were not "OF GOD" became evident. Let me give you a couple of illustrations. In answer to God's direction for Moses to return to Egypt and lead His people out of bondage, Moses said, "WHO AM I, that you should go to Pharaoh?" Moses needed to have his understanding of his true IDENTITY corrected, and also his understanding of GOD.
These wrong attitudes would have remained unchallenged except for that Fire of God. Also Moses argues with the Lord, that he is not equipped to undertake such a task, because he saw himself as slow of speech". Ex 4:10. How shallow is our walk with God because of many such false concepts, which only the "Fire" of God can expose; for "our God is a consuming fire.
This whole experience was to become an encouraging sign to Moses, as the Lord told him, He would bring Israel to this very same place, which he did literally. But for us this promise is fulfilled spiritually.
Just for a moment allow me to share another "FIRE" experience from Israels history. In Daniel chapter 3 we read of three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who stood faithful to the Lord in the midst of tremendous persecution, defying the ultimatum of the king. As a result they were bound and thrown into a fiery furnace, heated seven times more than normal.. Being faithful to the Lord, they had great faith in His ability to save them, but regardless of the outcome, they said they would never disobey God.
The account says, the very men who threw them into the fire, were burned by the heat, but their three prisoners were seen waking IN THE FIRE but not alone. There was one with them IN THE FIRE who was "LIKE UNTO" the SON OF GOD., and all that was burnt were the ropes that bound them. When the king brought them out of the fire, not even their clothes were singed, and there was not even the smell of fire on them. You see beloved, once you have been subjected to the fire, and it has accomplished its work, the fire can no longer affect you.
Christ has been sent from the Father to deliver us from bondage, and to bring us back to the Father, from whence He came. He said, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where am, there ye may be also". Jn 13:3. For Israel, it seems that little was accomplished spiritually, by the fire at Mount Sinai, for at that very same place they worshipped a golden calf!
Like many Christians today, Israel was just a spectator of the manifestation of God, instead of becoming a participant. The people said to Moses, "Speak thou with us, and we will hear, but let not God speak with us lest we die". Because Israel was not personally involved in entering the presence of the Lord, this experience had little effect upon their lives. We could liken this, to our present day Christianity, where many expect their Pastor to enter the presence of God, and then come along on Sunday morning and tell them what God has said. In both cases the result is about the same.
Of course Israel, not having touched the reality of Passover, were not capable of serving the Lord in this new experience of Pentecost, and neither are so many who today claim to be "Born Again." Jesus lived for thirty years without having entered into the ministry for which he came. But as he came up out of the Jordan River, John saw a manifestation of the Spirit of God descend upon him "like a dove," and heard the Fathers declaration, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." It was only after this experience that Jesus BEGAN HIS MINISTRY.
This indicates the importance of Pentecost in the purposes of God. Today, we see men volunteering for the ministry who have never been divinely equipped for the task. We are not speaking of an elite class of people who have been separated from other believers, for ALL of Gods people are a Royal Priesthood. But it is absolutely vital that we enter into the reality of Pentecost, if we are to fulfill the will of God.
The revelation of God given to Moses, at the burning bush enabled him to be "Instead of GOD" to Pharaoh. It is obvious to all that Moses was acting under a higher power to achieve the release of Gods people from slavery to Pharaoh. Why should we consider it less important that we become a vessel in the hand of God, before we can see his people today released from bondage and corruption. Just because we do not see a physical Pharaoh enslaving them does not mean there is not as powerful a force holding them in bondage today. For this very reason the disciples were told, "to tarry in Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on high."
Right through the Old Testament God was considered a separate entity from MAN. Even to Moses God appeared to be outside of himself. He was in the burning bush, but now we understand by the Spirit that the BUSH represented Moses. He was also in the Tabernacle in the Most Holy Place, and in the CLOUD as well as the pillar of Fire. But the carnal mind of man could not conceive that the God of FIRE could dwell IN MAN without the Man being consumed. The Adam consciousness refuses to consider GOD IN US, because we are afraid the FIRE will destroy us.
This is perhaps the most life-changing revelation to come out of Pentecost. Jesus said, "Even the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, BUT YOU KNOW HIM for HE DWELLETH WITH YOU AND SHALL BE IN YOU." Jn 14: 17. Then with reference to the day of Pentecost he said, "At that day you shall know that I AM IN MY FATHER, AND YOU ARE IN ME, AND I AM IN YOU." Verse 20.
These truths have been hidden from most Christians for centuries through false doctrine. I am referring to the doctrine of the TRINITY. It is commonly believed by many that this doctrine is based upon Bible teaching. However it may surprised to know that history declares this teaching originated in A.D. 322 during the time of Constantine the so called "Christian" emperor of Rome. At that time the Church was divided over the question concerning who JESUS WAS. The majority of the Bishops at that time declared Jesus was not GOD, which accords with his own statements. Jn 10:36.
However the minority of Bishops stubbornly declared that Jesus WAS GOD! A conference was called but no agreement could be reached so in desperation the Emperor was called in to make a casting vote and so decide once and for all the question. Constantine sided with the minority view that Jesus WAS GOD, thus launching the doctrine of the TRINITY. Several years later this was enshrined in the Nicene creed, to which most Churches today subscribe. I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three in one etc.
This doctrine effectively gives us THREE GODS, each being distinct from the other. The concept of THREE IN ONE is just that, a mental concept, but one that carries no validity. The carnal mind accepts this multiple God which effectively destroys the TRUTH of Pentecost. For them the Holy Spirit is simply ONE THIRD OF GOD, so they still search the sky for the second THIRD of God JESUS, who they insist has to return out of the sky, to deliver us from this evil world, and take us "HOME" to some ethereal heaven.
No beloved, there is only ONE GOD and not three, for Jesus said, "I and my Father ARE ONE and not TWO." He also declared "It is the FATHER IN ME that does the work." The 120 in the upper room did not receive ONE THIRD OF GOD, for GOD had come to manifest himself in his people. Paul said, "It is Christ IN YOU that is the hope of glory", and also, "He that is joined to the LORD IS ONE SPIRIT." 1 Cor 6:17.
Pentecost for the disciples, was the transition from an EXTERNAL GOD to the consciousness of GOD DWELLING WITHIN. They had walked with the Lord for three and a half years, watching his life and seeing the miracles he did. But he kept on saying he HAD TO GO AWAY. The disciples could not understand why he should have to go away. It was Simon Peter who asked him, "Where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going you cannot follow me NOW, but YOU SHALL FOLLOW ME AFTERWARDS." Jn 3:36.
Peter remonstrated with the Lord asking why he could not follow immediately, being willing to lay down his life, but Jesus indicated to him the deception that was still resident in his heart. Peter considered Jesus was only speaking about some relocation to another area of the land. He had no idea that he was GOING BACK to the invisible realm of the FATHER, or to FATHERS HOUSE. In that house there are many abiding places or rooms if you like, and I am going to prepare one of those places in each of you.
Now most Christians consider Jesus is talking about "heaven" which the Lord is preparing FOR US. BUT he said clearly I am speaking about FATHERS HOUSE, that is the place where FATHER DWELLS! Right from the time of Moses God desired to dwell among his people. He says in Ex. 25:8 "Let them make me a sanctuary or dwelling place, that I AMY DWELL AMONG THEM." So Jesus told the disciples I am going to prepare a dwelling place for Father IN YOU. However this is a new day, and so God does not dwell in temples MADE WITH HANDS, so no one can build any kind of a building for God to dwell in today.
But Christ said, "If I go and prepare a place for YOU, I WILL COME AGAIN, and receive YOU UNTO MYSELF. We are not left in any doubt about the meaning of these words, for the very same verb is used in Mat 26:17. "Where do you want us to prepare a place for you to eat the Passover?" It was customary for someone to Prepare a place for the Master before he would arrive, so the disciples followed his instructions. Now Christ is doing the same for them but is the SPIRITUAL or unseen realm. However this is no reference to some ethereal heaven up in the sky.
His promise is that after his death, burial, resurrection and ascension, he said he would COME BACK AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF, THAT WHERE I AM (IN FATHERS HOUSE) THERE YOU MAY BE ALSO. Jn 14:3. According to traditional theology, this refers to a "second coming" at the end of the age. So in the meantime we have been left alone, for now God is a million miles away up in the sky somewhere, and we cannot be with him until some uncertain time in the future.
Listen beloved to the TRUTH. When Jesus said he was coming back he was not speaking about 2000 plus years, but 50 days after Passover. The disciples were told to remain in Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on high. So the scripture records, that when the FEAST OF PENTECOST HAD FULLY COME there were 120 souls gathered in an upper room. They had been there since Christ disappeared from out of the midst of them on the mount of Olives, continuing in ONE ACCORD in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brethren.
This was the culmination of every other Feast of Pentecost, for this was the fulfillment of all the types and shadows of the Old Testament, including the FIRSTFRUITS, and the TWO LOAVES made of the same substance. They heard the WIND or the SPIRIT filling the house where they were sitting, and then they saw the FIRE OF GOD touching each one of them, and they were ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
That SPIRIT that fell on them that day beloved WAS GOD, who IS SPIRIT. Jn 4:24. Not one third of God as tradition says, BUT GOD. FATHER had come to take up his ABODE WITH US, in his HOUSE OF MANY MANSIONS, the people of God. Remember the disciples were told, "I WILL COME AGAIN and receive you UNTO MYSELF." The course of history was changed that day as GOD and MAN became UNITED IN ONE. This is the fulfillment of the words Jesus spoke when he said, "IN THAT DAY YOU WILL KNOW THAT I AM IN THE FATHER, AND YOU ARE IN ME AND I AM IN YOU." Think about it beloved, and ponder deeply those words until the TRUTH makes you free.
This was what all the shadows and symbols of the Old Testament pointed to, this is the fulfillment of the Feast of Pentecost. The contrast between the men of the Old Testament upon whom the Spirit came to fulfill certain functions, and those of the New Testament who were filled with the Spirit of God, now becomes most evident. For us, we have been "raised up and made to sit together in HEAVENLY PLACES, in Christ Jesus".
The dynamic changes that occur in our lives, are not brought about simply by reading books, or even the Bible, but we are CHANGED, "AS WE BEHOLD THE LORD". 2Cor 3:18. For Israel to appear before the Lord was mandatory, even though they never actually SAW GOD. However, for us, we need to grasp the importance of presenting ourselves before the Lord who DWELLS WITHIN US, without the "Fig Leaf" covering of our own religious making, that we might be changed into HIS IMAGE and LIKENESS, and to KNOW even as we are KNOWN BY THE LORD. The promise to us today is, that "When we see HIM, we shall be LIKE HIM."
Here is the tremendous contrast between Mt Sinai and Mt Zion. As the writer to the Hebrews states, "For you have not come to that which might he handled and burned with fire, and to darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words. BUT you are come to Mount ZION, and unto the city of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem. Heb 10:18-29. At Mt Sinai, which was a literal mountain which could be touched, Israel was barred from entering the presence of God, and was terrified even at the sight. Heb. 12:21.
BUT for us today, by the Grace of GOD we are taken up another mountain called ZION, the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels (messengers) . All of which represents a people WHO ARE THE PRODUCT OF THE FIRE. The fire has consumed their false sense of identity, and their nakedness, to reveal CHRIST in whom all have been created and chosen. Eph 2:10.
However, in contrast to Mount Sinai the Lord has added another dimension to the "LAW" which was given to Israel which guarantees a far different result. In Hebrews 8:10 we read, "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel, AFTER THOSE DAYS saith the LORD, I will give my laws into their mind, and write them upon their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people". Christians today have no more ability to keep the "external" law of God written on tables of stone ,than did Israel. However many Christians still try desperately to be good, but failure in one point makes us guilty of all. The righteousness of God is totally beyond the reach of natural man, even though he may believe Christ dies instead of him. Righteousness cannot be ACHIEVED, it must be IMPUTED to us by the Spirit of Cod, THROUGH FAITH, and then expressed, as He writes His laws in our hearts and minds.
However all these Old testament experiences were like "SHADOWS", which were imprinted on the history of Israel, for our edification, by the Lord. In the natural, if you have a "shadow", it means there is something "solid" which has cast that shadow, and it is so in this case also. But we have to look many centuries down the corridor of time, to see the reality, which was responsible for this particular shadow, in Israel's history. It was not until the time of John the Baptist, that we begin to see this great event unfold. He was baptising the people who had come to him at the river Jordan, in preparation for the coming of the Messiah.
To make the distinction between the BAPTISM He was involved with, and another which would follow later, he said these words. "I, indeed am baptising you in WATER, for REPENTANCE, yet HE who is coming after me is stronger than I, whose sandal's I am not competent to bear. He will be baptising you IN HOLY SPIRIT AND FIRE, whose winnowing shovel is in His hand, and He will be scouring His threshing floor, and will be gathering His grain, into His barn, but the chaff will He be BURNING UP with UNQUENCHABLE fire.
How the modern theologians have distorted the "FIRE OF GOD", creating doctrines which destroy its true implications, of cleansing and refining, as used in the scriptures, and substituting in their place negative concepts of FEAR and TORTURE and even ETERNAL PUNISHMENT. Israel always believed their God was a CONSUMING FIRE. However they saw the "FIRE" from the physical point of view, thus forming the concept of a God who kills and destroys everything that gets in his way. Out of these false concepts of FIRE as punishment, man has developed the doctrine of an eternal burning HELL. This was introduced first by the Catholic Church in order to make money from those who had lost loved ones.
However I want you, my readers, to understand that the FIRE OF GOD burning in the bush before Moses, DID NOT CONSUME THE BUSH. Moses knew it was GOD IN THAT BUSH. The natural man always thinks NATURALLY, and to them God becomes a God of harsh judgment and cruel punishment.
Have you ever thought how people in the old testament, gave their gifts and offerings to the Lord? All their sacrifices and offerings on the altar ascended to the Lord BY FIRE. Why therefore do we always have to associate the word FIRE in the Bible with a horrible punishment and torment. The Psalmist says, He maketh His ministers a flaming fire". Ps 104:4. Job spoke of the "refiners fire" in his life when he said, "He knoweth the way that I take, when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as GOLD". Job 23:lO.
Israel's attitude to God was demonstrated in the their attitude to the Fire" on Mount Sinai, for they wanted nothing to do with It. Such an attitude still persists, and so for many of Gods people, they never embrace that cleansing which the fire brings and is vital to our relationship with the Lord. Now let us return to Pentecost in the New Testament, to discover the "substance" of that "shadow" which touched Israel in Horeb.
ThIs feast was not just a continuation of Passover, but was to be a NEW MEAT 0FFERING. The death burial and resurrection of Christ had already taken place, and the seven sabbaths had passed according to the pattern given to Moses. Now it was the following day and the disciples had been instructed to remain in Jerusalem. There were 120 souls gathered together, in an upper room., to celebrate this feast. They were not there out of curiosity, or simply a part of some club, but there was a bond that unified them on this occasion, a deep desire to KNOW the MYSTERY of the MAN FROM HEAVEN. They knew that FIRE would be involved, as it was in all their history, but even this did not daunt them.
Suddenly there was the mighty wind, as it was on Mt Sinai, for there it was a tempest. It Is interesting that the word for wind or breath, is also used for SPIRIT, and this is so in both Greek and Hebrew. That is why Jesus said, "The wind bloweth where ever it listeth, thou hearest the sound there of, but cannot tell where it came or where it goes. So is every one who is BORN OF THE SPIRIT" Jn 3:8. So when the day of Pentecost had fully come, the SPIRIT of God began to move upon them, and filled the house where they were. Thus they were enveloped by the Spirit of God, just as the people who were baptised by John in the river Jordan, were enveloped in the water. This was in accord with the message John brought to the people.
The purpose behind that water baptism, was essentially unto repentance, as preparation for the coming of the messiah. But now this baptism was essentially unto holiness, and this is indicated by the FIRE which divided so as to rest upon each one in the room. This was indeed the FIRE OF GOD, the same fire that Moses saw in the bush that burned, yet did not consume the bush. Here in Pentecost God is putting the same fire in each one. If God is a consuming fire, and he came to dwell within each one, then the fire would have to prepare the place of his abode, and anything "combustible" must be consumed. Only then can the presence of God dwell within.
Again, as we relate to Pentecost in Israel's history, we see the TWO LOAVES, one representing Christ and the other those He indwells, and this is the fulfillment of the feast. We are told, "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit", and as a consequence of God now dwelling in man, they were able to speak in various languages, in order to minister to the great multitude of people who were in Jerusalem at that time. No longer was God shut away in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle or Temple, but He could manifest HIMSELF in and through a people.
The disciples had been told that he was going away to PREPARE A PLACE FOR THEM, so that where HE IS there we might be also. It is the FIRE of the Spirit of God that prepares the place where FATHER DWELLS and that place is WITHIN US. Gods people are his dwelling place and the house of many mansions. The wonderful thing that the Spirit reveals to us is that WE ALSO DWELL WHERE HE IS.
How different is this scene from that at Mt Sinai. Israel's heart at that time could not abide the "FIRE", nor the 'WIND", and had no desire to personally hear the voice of God speaking to them, so they instructed Moses to tell them what he had said. If we are honest, we will have to confess that many people today are also afraid to stand in the presence of God, because of their SIN CONSCIOUSNESS. Such a consciousness puts them back with Israel on Mount Sinai with the Fire and tempest, being afraid of GOD! Many today wear the "CROSS" around their neck but refuse the "DEATH" that it involves. Thus for them the Cross is simply an historical event, but has no reality in their hearts.
The reality of Pentecost will not be realised fully, until the seven sevens, or Sabbaths, have been fulfilled in us, and we are completely sanctified and set apart unto Him. This realisation can only come when we discover we are IN CHRIST, "for if any man be IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATION".