There were 49 days in between the resurrection of Jesus and that wonderful first day of Pentecost on the 50th day. That’s jubilee.
According to Acts 1, He spent 40 days with the disciples that numbered a minimum of 120 people, including His mother, Mary. The account says that He proved Himself alive by infallible proofs (Acts 1:3). The church must follow His example. Everything He did had the Father’s approval.
Jesus of Nazareth was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and with great power. He did wonderful things for others and divinely healed all who were under the tyranny of the devil, for God had anointed him. We apostles were eyewitnesses to all the miracles that he performed throughout the land of Israel. Finally, in Jerusalem, he was crucified on a cross, but God raised him from the dead three days later, allowing him to be seen openly.
Our mandate is to do the same work He did. The Lord said as much in the Gospels. In that precious time with them, He spoke many things pertaining to the kingdom of God. We do not know exactly what He said. John affirmed this:
Jesus went on to do many more miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not even included in this book. But all that is recorded here is so that you will fully believe that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you will experience eternal life by the power of his name! John 20:30-31. See also john 21:25.
I will not be so foolish as to try to tell you what they were. If they were not written, they were not written, but we know enough from everything He did and said in the Gospels and in the feasts of the Lord, to illustrate His intention.
The Lord commanded them to continue in His work, but to wait for enduement from on high (Acts 1:4). After issuing this command, He returned to heaven and when they were standing there looking up, two angels asked them why they were doing so. They said that Jesus would return or come in like manner. He is returning!
Now, if we all believe and act on His commandment to “go ye”, why do we disregard His command to wait. His command in the same sentence was to wait until the Holy Spirit enables us? One commandment is as good as the other. We cannot try to do God’s work without the tools God gave us, but most of the church refuses to have anything to do with the Holy Spirit who provides those tools.
Those people waited. As I grow older physically and in the Lord, I am becoming more aware that we as finite beings, have absolutely no idea of eternity. It is in our hearts, but we think in natural terms and do not want to wait.
Waiting separated the real from the pretender; the ones who would obey the command and those who would not; those who were sincere and wanting to do what He did and those who were as I often say, “religious”.
Have we been in such a waiting mode again? If God speaks in types and shadows and does not change, then I think that we have and if so, we are on the cusp of entering into a new and possibly the final festival season—the transition from the 6th day to the 7th day.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that more than 500 brethren—followers of Jesus—fellow disciples saw Him after His resurrection. There were not 12.
Most of them did not last the distance and many of them had preached the Gospel, seen the miracles and done what He had told them to do, including Judas! Again I ask, What happened to them all?
There were only 120 people present when the Holy Spirit fell. If that is a type or a shadow of what was to come, what therefore will be its fulfillment? The bible speaks of a great falling away, so what is that about? Perhaps we are now being sifted and separated, or being pruned.
Jesus spoke of the vine and the husbandman who is the Father in John 15. Here He shared how the Father prunes the vines with the aim of producing the best fruit. It is quality God wants, not necessarily quantity. We know that He does not want one single soul to be lost, but He also does not want thorns, or tares amongst the wheat that speaks of the harvest. Because the Jewish festivals were agriculturally oriented, perhaps we need to look on this pruning as if it is happening to us right now as God is starting to cut away the dead wood, prune the vines and train the new shoots to grow properly so that the best fruit springs forth.
What I am trying to do is to get you thinking. Perhaps now that we have been in self isolation; that we have not been able to have public assembly; that we have not been able to have “church meetings” we have had the opportunity to look at our own hearts and determine where we truly stand. This whole thing, like the feasts of Israel, is seasonal and we cannot have Passover when we should be celebrating Pentecost. Nor can we keep having Pentecost when it is time for another feast, say, the Feast of Trumpets.
This is why I believe we are in a seasonal change. We’ve had our Passover. We had our day of Pentecost, but that single day was but the beginning of something new. It wasn’t the end, but a new start so we may be somewhere between the two and ready to emerge into a new season. I cannot emphasize that enough. God keeps reminding us! It is almost as if He has hit a reset button and many other people around the world are hearing this same message.
Se let’s keep looking at the feasts, or in particular at Shavuot. This is the second of the three major festivals that have historical and agricultural significance and commemorates the time when the first fruits were harvested and brought to the Temple, and is known as Hag ha-Bikkurim (the Festival of the First Fruits). It also celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and is also known as Hag Matan Torateinu (the Festival of the Giving of the Torah). The period from Passover to Shavuot is a time of great anticipation in which Jews count each of the days from the second day of Passover to the day before Shavuot, 49 days or 7 full weeks. This is why it is called the Festival of weeks. This is precisely what happened to the 120 in Acts 1 and 2.
This period is the The Counting of the Omer, first seen in Exodus 16:12-28 after God provided manna and commanded the people to collect as much as each person needed—no more and no less. If someone gathered more than was necessary and kept the manna that God had provided—it went rotten and got eaten by worms. There is a powerful message here, that simply put means that the things that God once did or used and has moved on are not to be held as tightly onto as we do.
A biblical illustration is seen in Numbers 21:9 when, as Israel was in the wilderness and suddenly came across deadly snakes that killed them, God commanded Moses to make a brass serpent, place it up on a pole and tell those who were bitten to run to it, stand beneath it and gaze upon it. If they did, they were preserved. This is a type of course of Jesus on the cross. The point I want to make is that when the cloud moved on, the people moved on and left the snakes behind. They no longer needed the tool that God used for a specific purpose, but kept holding on to it and 400 years later it had become an idol! The prophet came and ground the thing up, smashed it and called it a Nehushtan. See 2 Kings 18:4. The thing that God once used, but was no longer using had become a false god! We must ask the obvious question now , “Have we created our own Nehusthtan’s in the church?” I believe we have.
In our present day, when in the middle of radical change and uncertainty, God is moving once more! This is a principle I see in the bible. Whilst God never changes, He Is (not was) and is constantly in motion, just as the seasons He created are constantly in motion.
Israel appointed watchmen whose roles was to watch that cloud and when it started to move, they had to blow the shofar and tell the people it was time to move with it. God still has watchmen whose function is to tell His people that there is a change in season.
Israel had specially chosen men who looked at the seasonal changes, especially the phases of the moon and when they saw the change, told the nation it was happening. Their agriculture, like ours, depends on the seasons. We cannot expect to pick a nice ripe juicy cherry from an apple tree in the middle of winter. It just does not happen like that, but this hopefully illustrates that we must move with Him, or be left behind and worse yet, create idols. We must leave the things that God once used behind or risk making them objects of worship. The church is at a crossroads. We must look beyond what has been happening, trying to ascertain the cause of the coronavirus, who did it, what it is or why. We should instead look at what can happen next.
Israel could no longer go back. Once the Red Sea closed behind them, God had made it perfectly clear that He had severed them forever from the past.
We cannot live in the past. If we try to do that, we will never see our future and I see a wonderful future for The Church. Note my capitalization.
I hear too many reports of people wanting to reopen their churches and go back to “business as usual” but as I said, we cannot go back there, because it is now in the past. I shall not discuss this in depth now but share in the presentation I called “I was a church junkie”.
I am registered with the government as a not for profit charitable institution and the relevant authority has just released a program supposedly designed to help us. Their last communication with me was:
What will the “New World” look like?
As we slowly emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, nobody quite knows what the “new world” has in store for the NFP sector. However, what we do know is that if your organisation is to thrive, the following focus areas would be a great place to start:
I have to ask if they know something we don’t? They apparently realize that things will not return to normal and it amazes me how so many church leaders do not want to accept this, almost like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand and ignoring such facts. Agreed, the government department is just that—and operates under the world system, but we cannot ignore what is happening around us right now. My presentation titled “What is the mark of the beast” will cover more on this aspect.
What we must realize is that there was much going on in the spirit realm in the period between Passover and Pentecost or a series of interwoven events that took place that have great significance to the church that emerged after Pentecost.
If indeed there is a change in seasons, we must progress beyond Pentecost to the new feast season.
We have the opportunity to come out the other side of these events into something completely different.
It is a principle that God has used often and keeps using.
Shavuot is known as Pentecost, because it falls on the 50th day. Passover for Jews freed them bondage. Christians remember Easter for similar reasons. For both Jews and Christians alike, it is the start of a new life, or the beginning of a journey and we are still on that journey. It has been methodically planned with meticulous precision. The Passover lamb had to be selected from the flock, without blemish, in the prime of its life on the 10th day of the month and be kept for 4 days.
It was then slaughtered and became our Passover. See Exodus 12:1-14 and 1 Corinthians 5:7.
If you study it out carefully, you will find that everything seen in these Festivals, including the way Passover happened, was completed by or fulfilled by Jesus. For example, in Luke 22, we see that the day of Unleavened Bread had arrived, when the Passover had to be killed, Jesus sent Peter and John ahead to prepare the Last Supper. They found the place where He said everything would be ready and prepared the Passover.
What we forget is that this lamb had been chosen 4 days ahead. He was following the pattern! Jesus came 4,000 years after Adam.
There was a period of time between Passover and Pentecost. I reinforce my statement that there are definite times and seasons in God, so if Pentecost has been fulfilled, the next season has to come. Allow me to sum up starting with this scripture.
These are the set times of the LORD, the sacred occasions, which you shall celebrate each at its appointed time. - Leviticus 23:4
We have had our Shabbat or Sabbath day but there is a sabbath day coming into which we are to enter.
We have had Passover (Pesach). We have had Unleavened Bread (Chag Hamotzi).
We have had First Fruits (Yom habikkurim)
We have had Pentecost (Shavu’ ot) and are still in it, ready to move into.
We have not yet had Trumpets (Yom Teru’ah), Atonement (Yom Kippur) and Tabernacles (Sukkot).
They’re next and are on our doorstep.
Those last three are it! There are no others.
Each of those Jewish Festivals have been set by God, not by man. Each of them are what we are all looking for.
We are saved. We are being saved and we shall be saved. It is all progressive and leads up to the climax of all climatic events that I suppose you have already assumed correctly, is the return of our Lord when He comes to take us and tabernacle with us.
Are you ready?
I hope this has been of assistance.