Pentecost Part 7 – A Picture of a Pentecost Rapture in Hebrews 12

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,  and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 

Hebrews 12:22-24 ESV

My dear watchmen, how have we not seen this???  Is this not clearly a rapture passage?  When is it that we will come to the heavenly Mount Zion and the city of the living God?  When do we enter our chambers, the ones that Jesus has been preparing for us in the Heavenly Jerusalem?  When will we attend a festal gathering?  When will the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven assemble?  Surely this is describing the rapture!

Mount Zion and the Heavenly City of Jerusalem

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:2-3 ESV

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.  Philippians 3:20-21 ESV

Come, my people, enter your chambers,
    and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
    until the fury has passed by.
For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place
    to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,
and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
    and will no more cover its slain.  Isaiah 26:20-21 ESV

Blow the trumpet in Zion;
    consecrate a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
     gather the people.
Consecrate the congregation;
    assemble the elders;
gather the children,
    even nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
    and the bride her chamber.  Joel 2:15-17 ESV

“Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,  having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.  Revelation 21:9-11 ESV

We will live in our Father’s house, in the heavenly Jerusalem, on the heavenly Mount Zion.  At some point (I believe after the Millennial Kingdom when the new heaven and new earth are made) it will come down out of heaven.

mount zion

Festal Gathering

…and to innumerable angels in festal gathering…

Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Revelation 19:9 ESV

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  Ephesians 5:31-32 ESV

And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.  Matthew 25:10 ESV

Remember in Part 1 of our study, we noted that on the original Pentecost (Shavuot), the elders of Israel ascended Mount Sinai to eat a “covenant affirmation” meal with the LORD?

Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up,  and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.  And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.  Exodus 24:9-11 ESV

Assembly of the Firstborn

…and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven…

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him… 2 Thessalonians 2:1 ESV

Our assembly is described in the interlinear as Strong’s #3831:

panéguris: a festal assembly

Original Word: πανήγυρις, εως, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: panéguris
Phonetic Spelling: (pan-ay’-goo-ris)
Short Definition: a festival assembly
Definition: a festival assembly.

HELPS Word-studies

3831 panḗgyris (from 3956 /pás, “all” and 58 /agorá, “the public square, meeting place”) – properly, an assembly-place where people met for a common purpose, especially to celebrate (commemorate) or be festive (BAGD).

Source: http://biblehub.com/greek/3831.htm

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.  If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.”  John 14:1-3 NKJV 

Note how Jesus will receive us unto Himself as you read the next passage.

Two men will be in the field; one will be taken [received] and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken [received] and the other left.  Matthew 24:40-41; Mark 13:34-35 ESV  

Interestingly, the word used, paralambanetai, is used elsewhere to represent “received” – as in, the ones taken will be received unto the Lamb.  Our reception into heaven is when we are taken from the earth and assemble together before the Lamb.  That we are enrolled in heaven means that we are in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world (Rev 17:8).

God, the Judge of All

…and to God, the judge of all…

I believe this is a reference to the Judgment Seat of Christ, where saints will receive or lose their rewards:

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.  Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV)

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;  for it is written,  “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.  (Romans 14:10-12 ESV)

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.  If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15 ESV)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  (1 Corinthians 9:24-25 ESV)

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8 ESV)

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 ESV)   (Also Rev 2:10  Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. ESV)

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:4 ESV)

Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12 ESV)

I believe that the Day of Christ is the heavenly track while the Day of the Lord runs its course on earth.   The Day of Christ is the day of redemption of the saints, when the “age of grace” is complete and the true body of Christ is called up to join Jesus in glory.  The Day of the Lord is the day of judgment for those who “refused to love the truth and so be saved”.

Spirits of the Righteous Made Perfect

..and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect…

I believe this is related to our complete redemption through the blood of the Lamb.

Listen! I am telling you a mystery:  We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.  For this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality.  When this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place:

Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Death, where is your victory?
Death, where is your sting?

1 Corinthians 15:51-55 ESV

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Ephesians 4:30 ESV

In him we have redemption through his bloodthe forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:7-14 ESV

Jesus, the Mediator of a New Covenant

…and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant…

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.  For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.  For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,  saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.  And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship.  Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.  Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own,  for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,  so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.  Hebrews 9:15-28 ESV

The Sprinkled Blood

…and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 

The sprinkled blood refers back to the blood of the Lamb, Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant.  The blood of Abel refers to the purpose of the Day of the Lord, which is to cleanse the earth of its’ bloodguilt and wickedness and punish those who refused to love the truth and be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:12).

The Pentecost Connection

Ok, you are saying, I can see the rapture here, with our assembling together in heaven at the redemption of our bodies.  But where does Pentecost fit in?  For this we turn to the entire passage to ascertain context:

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.  For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”  Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”  

The passage starts out describing the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai on what day?  PENTECOST.  It continues with no interruption:

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,  and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

This is the rapture connection we have discussed above.  And what follows?  Keep going…

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.  At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”  This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  for our God is a consuming fire.  Hebrews 12:18-29 ESV

Did you note the connection which confirms that the author is connecting the escaping at Mount Sinai and the escaping what is to come next?  The author then describes a shaking of the heavens and the earth, to remove the powers from them in order to establish Jesus’ Kingdom that will never be shaken!  We know that at the rapture there is an escape route, followed by a time of wrath on earth.

But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.  

Luke 21:36 ESV

The giving of the Law on Mount Sinai was a somber and dramatic occasion, ON PENTECOST, which the author of Hebrews ties together with a future festal gathering in heaven as an escape, followed by a shaking of the heavens and the earth.  Could this be a clue that this gathering will also occur on a future PENTECOST, followed by a time of tribulation on earth?

Let’s examine the connection of Hebrews 12 to the Day of the Lord to see if we are on the right track:

Pentecost Part 8 – Pentecost, Joel 2, and the Coming of the Day of the Lord

Main Pentecost Study Menu: Everything You Need to Know About Pentecost, the Feast that Ties It All Together For The Church


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The Day of the Lord

The Day of Christ- BEMA Seat

The Millennial Kingdom

Who Will Stand Before the Son of Man?  Examining Luke 21:36

What’s Shaking?  The Earth, The Heavens, or Both?

The Rapture of the Church – Our Blessed Hope

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

 

Pentecost Part 6 – God’s Covenant Changes on Pentecost – It’s All About the Blood

In Part 1 of our study, we saw how God gave the “Old Covenant”, or Covenant of Moses, on the first Pentecost (Shavuot).  This marked the beginning of the Dispensation of Law, as we examined in Part 2.  The Dispensation of Law ended and the Dispensation of Grace began on the first Pentecost after Jesus’ death and resurrection.  This marked the beginning of the Church age in the “New Covenant”.  The covenants are related to the dispensations, but are not identical.  So let’s examine the covenant changes that have occurred, and perhaps will occur, on Pentecost!

The First Pentecost (Shavuot) in the Old Covenant

As we discussed previously, Shavuot is the feast that marks the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai.  This Law is regarded as the “Old Covenant”, or the “Mosaic Covenant”.  It was given by God, agreed to by the Hebrew people, and was ratified by the blood of sacrifices as well as a covenant meal.  Moses literally sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices upon the people to “cover them”.  The Israelites were to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, shining forth the light of God to the nations:

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”  Exodus 19:5-6 ESV

Exodus chapter 24 describes this covenant and covenant meal:

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.”  And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.  And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord.  And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar.  Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”  And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”  Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up,  and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.  And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.  Exodus 24:3-11 ESV

Gotquestions describes the Mosaic covenant like this:

Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 11; et al.). The Mosaic Covenant was a conditional covenant that either brought God’s direct blessing for obedience or God’s direct cursing for disobedience upon the nation of Israel. Part of the Mosaic Covenant was the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and the rest of the Law, which contained over 600 commands—roughly 300 positive and 300 negative. The history books of the Old Testament (Joshua–Esther) detail how Israel succeeded at obeying the Law or how Israel failed miserably at obeying the Law. Deuteronomy 11:26-28 details the blessing/cursing motif.

SOURCE: https://www.gotquestions.org/bible-covenants.html

When Jesus came, He fulfilled the Law and the Prophets and made a New Covenant in His blood.

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah”.  Jeremiah 31:31 ESV

The First Pentecost in the New Covenant

When Jesus came, He made a new covenant, a better covenant, in His blood.  Jesus fulfilled Jeremiah’s new covenant prophecy through His death and resurrection.  It was given by God, agreed to by individual believers, and ratified by the blood of the ultimate sacrifice – Jesus Christ.  Under the new covenant, we are covered by the blood of the Lamb – the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!

nothing but the blood

On the celebration of Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection, the Holy Spirit was given to the body of Christ in power and as a seal.  Thus, Pentecost is associated with the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood.   There are many scripture passages stating that the New Covenant is a fulfillment of the Old Covenant:

But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.  For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
    when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
    and with the house of Judah,
 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
    on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
    and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
    after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
    and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
    and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest.
 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
    and I will remember their sins no more.”

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Hebrews 8:6-13 ESV

The Old Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, was made obsolete with the introduction of the New and Better Covenant.  Gotquestions explains the New Covenant this way:

New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The New Covenant is a covenant made first with the nation of Israel and, ultimately, with all mankind. In the New Covenant, God promises to forgive sin, and there will be a universal knowledge of the Lord. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Law of Moses (Matthew 5:17) and create a new covenant between God and His people. Now that we are under the New Covenant, both Jews and Gentiles can be free from the penalty of the Law. We are now given the opportunity to receive salvation as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9).

SOURCE: https://www.gotquestions.org/bible-covenants.html

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,  and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.  Ephesians 2:14-16 ESV

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.  Matthew 5:17-18 ESV

Jesus is the fulfillment of both the Law (the covenant of Moses) and the Prophets (the dispensation of the Law).  A new covenant and dispensation (Grace/Church Age) began at His death and resurrection.  The covenant meal that reminds us of this sacrifice is referred to as communion.  Communion points us to when Jesus will return and complete the redemption of our bodies.  It points to the consummation of our redemption, our wedding supper with Him!

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him.  And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”  Luke 22:14-20 ESV

Note in Luke’s passage that Jesus hints at the marriage supper we will celebrate with Him.  The complete fulfillment of communion is future.

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.  1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ESV

Communion is meant to remind us that JESUS IS COMING BACK FOR US!!!!!!!  Partake in communion joyfully, saints!

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.  For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.  For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,  saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.  And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship.  Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.  Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own,  for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,  so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.  Hebrews 9:15-28 ESV

Again, Christ will appear a second time TO SAVE THOSE WHO ARE EAGERLY WAITING FOR HIM!

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,  and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,  and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.  Hebrews 12:22-24 ESV

Wow, just wow, guys.  Mind blown.  Read that last passage again and tell me if you see a clear picture of the rapture.  We just read that the new covenant in Jesus’ blood will be completely fulfilled when we celebrate it with Him in heaven.  The taking of communion – remembering Christ’s blood shed and body broken for us – is to remind us that He is coming back for us!!!  He will appear a second time to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him!!!  And now in Hebrews 12 we have a clear connection of this event to Pentecost.  How, you ask?  Well for that we need a new post:

Pentecost Part 7 – A Picture of a Pentecost Rapture in Hebrews 12

Main Pentecost Study Menu: Everything You Need to Know About Pentecost, the Feast that Ties It All Together For The Church


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

What Are the 7 Dispensations?  (GraceThruFaith)

What are the 7 Dispensations? (Gotquestions)

Does Scripture Support a Pentecost Rapture? (PDF – T.W. Tramm)

The Feast of Pentecost (GraceThruFaith)

Shavuot – Revelation and the Fruit of the Spirit (Hebrew4Christians)

The Mystery of Pentecost (Prophecy Watchers)

The Rapture of the Church – Our Blessed Hope

The Blood Moon Sign

The Noisy, Not-So-Secret Rapture of the Church

Seals, Sealing, and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

The Four Horsemen – Seals 1-4

The Martyrs Under the Altar – Seal 5

The Blood Moon – Seal 6

Heavenly Silence – Seal 7

Braxton Hicks, Labor Pains, and the Time of the End

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

 


Passages Describing the Feast of Pentecost

When studying Biblical teaching, I believe it is always important to read the source for yourself.  Not just a verse or two, but the entire relevant passage.  This will sharpen your discernment skills, as you examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so.  Much of the fall ruckus over the Jubilee and Yom Kippur could have been avoided if everyone had just read Leviticus chapter 23.  So with no further delay, here are the relevant passages describing the celebration of the Feast of Pentecost (Weeks):

On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

 the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

[10 Commandments Given]

18 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” 21 The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

[Additional commandments Given – the Law]

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.”  And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.16 The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 19:1, 5-8, 10-20; 20:18-21; 24:3, 6-8, 15-17

 “You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering.  You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the Lord.  You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the Lord.  And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one bull from the herd and two rams. They shall be a burnt offering to the Lord, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.  And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings.  And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the Lord for the priest.  And you shall make a proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.  “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”  Leviticus 23:15-22 ESV

26 On the day of the firstfruits, when you offer a grain offering of new grain to the Lord at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, 27 but offer a burnt offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; 28 also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for each bull, two tenths for one ram, 29 a tenth for each of the seven lambs; 30 with one male goat, to make atonement for you. 31 Besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, you shall offer them and their drink offering. See that they are without blemish.  Numbers 28:26-31 ESV

You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. 10 Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you. 11 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there. 12 You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.  Deuteronomy 16:9-12 ESV

 

Pentecost Part 5 – The Counting of the Omer – Day and Hour Unknown?

Another name for Pentecost is the Feast of Weeks.  This name stems from how it is to be calculated: seven weeks after the waving of the Omer (Firstfruits sheaf of grain offering).

You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering.  You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath.  Leviticus 23:15 ESV

The Counting of the Omer

Shavuot is the last of the Spring feasts.  It concludes the Feast of Weeks, which begins at Firstfruits.  This is kind of confusing, so here’s a diagram:

countomerdays

In Deuteronomy, the Israelites are told to “count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain” (Deut 16:9 ESV).  Pentecost came exactly 7 weeks after the first harvest of barley.  Hebrew4Christians states “The 49 day countdown to the holiday is called the “Sefirat Omer” – Counting of the Omer.  Every day of the countdown a special blessing was recited naming exactly how many more days were left before the climactic 50th day – a Jubilee of days!”

I found that statement interesting in light of all the Jubilee talk going on in the watching community.  This post is from last fall, but has some Jubilee discussion: Does Yom Kippur 2017 Mark the Loud Trump of a Jubilee?  I personally believe that the Jubilee will be prophetically fulfilled at the Second Coming, not at the rapture.  However, Pentecost seems to be a type of shadow fulfillment of the Jubilee cycle every year with its’ 50 day count.

Since the Feast of Firstfruits can vary by several days on the Hebrew calendar, Pentecost can also vary by several days.  Firstfruits is determined by “the day after the Sabbath following Passover”.  Seven full weeks later is Pentecost.  Thus, the day of Pentecost is not easily determined until after Firstfruits has been established for that year.  As we will see below, there is some variation in how the word “Sabbath” is applied in these day counts.

Passover Calculation Controversy – The Day and Hour Unknown?

Interestingly, the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Karaites all had different methods of calculating the date on which Pentecost was to fall.  If you have been following the discussions about whether or not the “Barley Was Abib”, then you have already been introduced to the Karaite version.

Hebrew4Christians nicely details the controversy surrounding how the date of Pentecost is to be established.  It seems we may not clearly be able to know the Day of Passover, and thus Pentecost, unless you can determine which view is correct! 😉

“Later on, after the Israelites had settled into the Promised Land, Shavuot began to take on other significance.  Unlike the other mo’edim given in the Torah, however, Shavuot has no explicit date but must be inferred from Leviticus 23:11 and 23:15: “And from the day on which you bring the omer offering – the day after the Sabbath – you shall count off seven weeks”.  The key phrase is “the day after the Sabbath”.  Does this phrase refer to Sunday or perhaps to the Sabbath of Passover?

This controversy is not insignificant, since Shavuot is one of the three mo’edim (appointed times) in which all males are directly commanded to appear before the LORD in Jerusalem (Exodus 23:14-17).  Since the date of Shavuot depends on the first day of the omer, starting the count on the wrong day would imply that festival would be observed at the wrong time.  Eventually three main viewpoints developed regarding the meaning of the phrase “after the Sabbath”:

The Tzaddukim (Sadducees) believed that the word “Sabbath” was used in its regular sense, as the seventh day of the week, and therefore began the countdown on the first Sunday after Passover (Talmud: Menachot 65).  Now since Shavuot occurs 7 weeks later to this day, this implies that it also fell on a Sunday.  Moreover, since the day of the week for Passover varies over the year, the date of Shavuot would likewise vary.

The Perushim (Pharisees), on the other hand, believed that “the day after the Shabbat” referred to not the weekly Sabbath but to the first day of Passover (which is a shabbaton or day of work restrictions), and therefore began counting the following day, that is, the day after Passover (which is also the second day of Unleavened Bread).  This is supported in Joshua 5:11-12 when Israel first entered the land and ate of its firstfruits.  Now since Passover always occurs on Nisan 15, this established a fixed date for Shavuot 49 days later on Sivan 6.

The Karaites rejected both these methods but instead relied upon the sighting of the new moon (Rosh Chodesh) and the appearance of the first sheaves of barley to determine the month of Aviv and the festival of Firstfruits, respectively.  After these observations, the wave offering of the firstfruits would then be presented at the temple on the day after the weekly Sabbath, and only then would the 49 day countdown to Shavuot begin.  Therefore, since the appearance of the first barley sheaves is not constant, the date Shavuot could not be foreknown with any certainty.

Historically, the Pharisee’s position prevailed in the Jewish tradition, and the modern Rabbinical calendar marks Shavuot on the fixed date of Sivan 6 (in May/June), exactly 49 days after the second day of Passover (Nisan 16).  This accords with the testimony of first century historians Josephus and Philo, who both state that the “day after the Sabbath” meant the day after the holiday Sabbath.”

Source: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Shavuot/shavuot.html

I was able to find information on a fourth group of Jews, the Essenes:

The Essenes who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls began the 50-day count to Shavuot on a different Sabbath from the Pharisees. In their reckoning, the Omer offering was to be brought on the morrow of the weekly Sabbath, in modern terms: “Sunday.” The Essenes began their count on the Sunday after the seven-days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As a result, they always began their count on the 26th day of the First Hebrew Month. The Essenes had a 364-day solar calendar, which began every year on a Wednesday and had fixed lengths for each month. Based on the Essene calendar, Shavuot always fell out on the 15th day of the Third Hebrew Month. The Essenes are presumed to have been wiped out when the Romans invaded Judea in 66-74 CE and only their documents survive today.

Source: https://www.nehemiaswall.com/truth-shavuot

The site Nehemia’s Wall does not list the Karaite method of determining Firstfruits and Pentecost above.  However, they would seem to argue against the Pharisee method, which is the most commonly used today in the Hebrew calendars.

An important verse that confirms the timing of Shavuot appears in the Book of Joshua:

“And they ate of the produce of the land on the morrow of the Passover, unleavened and parched grain on this very day. And the Manna ceased on the morrow when they ate of the produce of the land…” -Joshua 5:11

This verse describes the events surrounding the cessation of the Manna, shortly after the Children of Israel entered the Land of Canaan. To understand this the significance of this verse, we must go back to the Book of the Leviticus, where the Israelites were forbidden to eat of the new crops of the Land of Israel until the day of the Omer offering:

“And bread and parched grain and ripe grain you shall not eat until this very day, until you bring the sacrifice of your God; it shall be an eternal statute for your generations in all your habitations.” Leviticus 23:14

When Joshua 5:11 describes the eating of “unleavened bread and parched grain… on this very day” it is using almost the precise wording of Leviticus 23:14 “and bread and parched grain… you will not eat until this very day.” The new produce of the land was forbidden until the Omer offering was brought. Joshua 5:11 is saying that when the Israelites entered the Land for the first time, they observed this commandment and waited until the terms of Leviticus 23:14 were fulfilled. In other words, they waited for the Omer offering before eating the grain of Israel. This has been widely recognized by Jewish Bible commentators throughout history, such as the 11th Century rabbi Rashi who explains on Joshua 5:11, “morrow of the Passover is the day of the waving of the omer.”

Joshua 5:11 is saying that the first Omer offering in the Land of Israel was brought on the “morrow of the Passover.” Immediately after this, the Children of Israel were permitted to eat of the new crops of the Land. For the first time, the Israelites pulled out their sickles and ate of the good bounty of their new homeland.

To understand the phrase “morrow of the Passover” we need to define two terms: “morrow” and “Passover.” The Hebrew word for “morrow” is mi-mocharat which refers to “the morning after.” In the phrase “morrow of the Sabbath” it describes Sunday morning, the morning after the 24-hour Sabbath.

Source: https://www.nehemiaswall.com/truth-shavuot

This year, Passover (the first day of Unleavened Bread, and also a High Sabbath) fell on March 30, 2018 and the weekly Sabbath following this was March 31.  Firstfruits would thus be April 1, 2018.  No matter which of the 3 calculations you use, interestingly they  all seem to be in agreement this year. This calendar thing, honestly.  There is STILL some uncertainty in the calendar, based on when Nisan 1 actually was (the start of the month is supposed to be based on the sighting of the first sliver of moon after New Moon).  I am working on sorting this out and will update this post when I figure out something more concrete.

UPDATE HERE – CHASING PENTECOST 2018

Thus, it seems that Pentecost is also a contender, along with the Feast of Trumpets, for the “Feast of Unknown Day/Hour”.  Note, too, that even if Pentecost is “THE Day”, the actual date and time (hour) will vary for believers worldwide because of time zones 🙂

In part 2 of our study, we examined the Dispensation Changes associated with Pentecost.  Let’s go to a similar study next, that of God’s Covenants:

Pentecost Part 6 – God’s Covenant Changes on Pentecost – It’s All About the Blood

Main Pentecost Study Menu: Everything You Need to Know About Pentecost, the Feast that Ties It All Together For The Church


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

What Are the 7 Dispensations?  (GraceThruFaith)

What are the 7 Dispensations? (Gotquestions)

Does Scripture Support a Pentecost Rapture? (PDF – T.W. Tramm)

The Feast of Pentecost (GraceThruFaith)

Shavuot – Revelation and the Fruit of the Spirit (Hebrew4Christians)

The Mystery of Pentecost (Prophecy Watchers)

The Rapture of the Church – Our Blessed Hope

The Blood Moon Sign

The Noisy, Not-So-Secret Rapture of the Church

Seals, Sealing, and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

The Four Horsemen – Seals 1-4

The Martyrs Under the Altar – Seal 5

The Blood Moon – Seal 6

Heavenly Silence – Seal 7

Braxton Hicks, Labor Pains, and the Time of the End

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

 

 


Passages Describing the Feast of Pentecost

When studying Biblical teaching, I believe it is always important to read the source for yourself.  Not just a verse or two, but the entire relevant passage.  This will sharpen your discernment skills, as you examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so.  Much of the fall ruckus over the Jubilee and Yom Kippur could have been avoided if everyone had just read Leviticus chapter 23.  So with no further delay, here are the relevant passages describing the celebration of the Feast of Pentecost (Weeks):

On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

 the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

[10 Commandments Given]

18 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” 21 The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

[Additional commandments Given – the Law]

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lordhas spoken we will do.”  And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.16 The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Exodus 19:1, 5-8, 10-20; 20:18-21; 24:3, 6-8, 15-17

 “You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering.  You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the Lord.  You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the Lord.  And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one bull from the herd and two rams. They shall be a burnt offering to the Lord, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.  And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings.  And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the Lord for the priest.  And you shall make a proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.  “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”  Leviticus 23:15-22 ESV

26 On the day of the firstfruits, when you offer a grain offering of new grain to the Lord at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, 27 but offer a burnt offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; 28 also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for each bull, two tenths for one ram, 29 a tenth for each of the seven lambs; 30 with one male goat, to make atonement for you. 31 Besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, you shall offer them and their drink offering. See that they are without blemish.  Numbers 28:26-31 ESV

You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. 10 Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you. 11 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there. 12 You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.  Deuteronomy 16:9-12 ESV

 

Pentecost Part 3 – Pentecost Prophecies

We’ve been examining how the feast of Pentecost seems to mark dispensation changes in the past.  The question is, will it also mark a future dispensation change?  Specifically, will Pentecost end the dispensation we are currently in?

To examine this, we turn to Acts chapter 2.

Pentecost Prophecies

I have been fascinated by the way Peter quoted Joel 2 in Acts 2:16-21 – on the first Pentecost of the Church Age.  Through this passage, I believe he defines the beginning and end of the church age for us.  Peter affirms that the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost was a partial fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy:

 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

[start of church age]

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

[church age]

19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
    before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

[end of church age]

Verses 17-18 mark the beginning of the Church Age – its’ conception, if you will (borrowing Scottie Clark’s terminology and using the frequent birth analogy that is found in Scripture).  At the start of the church age is the mystery of the new birth; being “born again” spiritually and sealed by the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Instead of only being upon God’s prophets and holy men, the Holy Spirit is now gifted to all who believe.  This gifting of the Holy Spirit is marked by prophecy, visions, dreams, and many  other spiritual gifts not mentioned here, but above all – sealing.  It is clear why Peter quotes Joel 2:28-29 on Pentecost as fulfilling that part of Joel’s prophecy.

There is a pregnant pause“, so to speak, between Verses 18 and 19.

Verses 19-21 mark the end of the Church Age – its’ birth.  This is the redemption of our bodies!  This is the removal of the Restrainer – the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the body of Christ as a Temple!  Note that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, before the day of the Lord.  The end of the Holy Spirit’s sealing ministry in the church will be marked by wonders in the heavens, signs on the earth, blood, fire, vapor of smoke, darkened sun, and a blood red moon.  These events clearly did not occur on the first Pentecost, so why would Peter mention them in his sermon – on Pentecost?  Could it be that he is announcing the future fulfillment of the remainder of Joel’s prophecy on some future Pentecost?  

What Peter Did NOT Quote

I believe that what Peter did NOT quote is just as important to study as what he DID quote.  Let’s examine the passage Peter is referring to in Acts 2, which is found in Joel chapter 2:28-32 (ESV):

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.  The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.  And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

Peter stops quoting Joel here.  We discussed these verses already.  Now let’s see what he left off:

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.  Joel 2:28-32 ESV

The question we must ask is, why did Peter stop where he did?  We know that only verses 28-29 were fulfilled in his day.  Why did he include verses 30-32a, but leave off 32b?  If he was just referencing the entire prophecy, surely he would have included verse 32b as well.  Or, if the ending of the church age would have nothing to do with Pentecost, surely he would have ended his quotation after verse 29, don’t you think?

I believe Peter is clearly defining the ending of the church age for us, on Pentecost. That’s why he included verses 30-32a in his sermon, on Pentecost.  I can think of no other reason why he would bother including verses 30-32a and leaving off 32b.  He did NOT include verse 32b, as that part will be fulfilled at the second coming, during the Fall Feasts.

The rest of Joel’s prophecy will be fulfilled at the time of the Second Coming of Christ.  There are two escape opportunities.  One, at the rapture.  The second, right before the final judgment.  Both times, everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (that portion, verse 32a, is prophetically repeated).

This second escape is detailed further in Zechariah 14, where God’s people flee right before Bowl 7 is poured out and Jesus arrives for the Battle of Armageddon flanked by His holy ones (us).

Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.  Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.  On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.  And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost.  And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.  (Zechariah 14:1-9 ESV)

Yes, this is consistent with Mystery Babylon being the latter-days city of Jerusalem (NOT how Jerusalem is today).  I know you probably don’t agree, but please give the following a read before you toss it aside:  The Mount of Olives – Final Escape Route; and Who is Mystery Babylon, and What Does She Do?

Matching Pieces

If Peter is telling us that the church age will end with the signs detailed in Acts 2:19-21, where do we find a match for this in scripture?  There is only one place:

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood,  and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.  The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.  Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,  calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,  for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”  Revelation 6:12-17 ESV

When the fullness of time for the wrath of God arrives, the body of Christ will be redeemed from the earth and stand before the Lamb in heaven.

Understanding the prophetic difference between a Blood Red Moon and a Darkened Moon is a special key that unlocks critical understanding of future events.  The blood moon is unique to 3 specific passages:  Joel 2 (prophecy), Acts 2 (prophetically suggested future fulfillment in Pentecost), and Revelation 6 (fulfillment).

The blood moon in particular is a major key in Biblical Prophecy.  A darkened moon, on the other hand, occurs more frequently and is thus harder to pinpoint to a specific event.  Both the blood and darkened moons are equally accompanied by a darkened sun and darkened or falling stars.  Both announce a revealing of Jesus Christ, when the skies roll back as a scroll.  The blood red moon occurs BEFORE the great and terrible Day of the Lord; darkness occurs DURING the Day of the Lord; a darkened moon occurs at the END of the Day of the Lord at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Summary

Note how Pentecost/Shavuot seems to introduce new dispensations – first, the Dispensation of Law (Mosaic covenant), then the Dispensation of Grace (Spirit of the Law).  Will it also introduce the interim dispensation of wrath (the Day of the Lord, commonly called the “Tribulation”, which seems to involve both Law and Grace)?  I believe Peter is strongly hinting at this exact fulfillment in his sermon given at the first church age Pentecost.

The Church Age, the “dispensation of grace”, will end when the Holy Spirit is removed just as He came, along with all who have Him inside them as a sealIt seems entirely plausible that it could occur on some future Pentecost.  For now, let’s continue our study by further examining this “Removal of the Restrainer”.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”  (Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV). 

 

Pentecost Part 4 – Temples of God and the Removal of the Restrainer

Main Pentecost Study Menu: Everything You Need to Know About Pentecost, the Feast that Ties It All Together For The Church


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The Blood Moon Sign

The Prophetic Significance of Blood Moons and How They Relate to the Rapture of the Church

The Noisy, Not-So-Secret Rapture of the Church

Braxton Hicks, Labor Pains, and the Time of the End

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

pentecost 1

 

Pentecost Part 2 – The Feast That Marks Dispensation Changes and Birthdays

We have been studying Pentecost, otherwise known as Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks, as one of God’s appointed times (mo’ed).  Shavuot is considered the day on which Judaism was born (the Age of Law).  Pentecost is considered the day on which the Church was born (the Age of Grace).  In this way, Pentecost has already marked the beginning and ending of several dispensations.

Will a future Pentecost mark another dispensation change?

This is the main question I am setting out to answer with this study series, and for that we need to review what dispensations are.

What Are the Dispensations?

God’s revelation and dealings with humanity can be broadly separated into “ages”.  It is progressive in nature, as each “dispensation”, or “age”, unfolds into the next.  This is the basis for Dispensational Theology.  It’s not perfect, but it helps us grasp how God has progressively revealed Himself and His redemption plan to humanity.

Jack Kelley at GraceThruFaith explains dispensationalism in this way:

Dispensationalism is a method for interpreting the Bible. The Greek word from which we get dispensation appears only 7 times in the New Testament and is only translated as such in four of those, all by Paul and all in the King James (1 Cor. 9:17Ephes. 1:10Ephes. 3:2Colossians 1:25). Other meanings of this word are stewardship, administration, and economy.

A dispensationalist believes that God has dealt with humanity in different ways at different times—revealing to us His character and His plan for mankind. These different periods of time are called dispensations.

Some say that dispensationalism is a relatively modern system of theology first proposed by John Nelson Darby in the mid-1800s. But evidence that the early church believed in the principles of dispensationalism can be found in the 2nd Century writings of Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. Justin Martyr saw four distinct periods (dispensations) and gave them the names of the principle players, Adam to Abraham; Abraham to Moses; Moses to Christ; and Christ to Eternity. Irenaeus also saw four periods, from the Creation to the Flood, from the Flood to the Law, from the Law to the Gospel, and from the Gospel to Eternity.

More recently most scholars have settled on seven dispensations. Each one has begun with an agreement between God and man that man has subsequently broken, causing the agreement to fail and requiring a judgment. Here are the seven dispensations in chronological order.

1) Innocence: Between the Creation and the Fall of Man in the Garden

God interacted freely and personally with Adam and Eve during this period. Then they broke the only rule He had given them (Genesis 3:11-13) and were expelled from the Garden. Sin entered the world.

2) Conscience: Between the Fall and the Flood

God allowed man’s conscience to govern his behavior without Divine interference. Because of the sin nature passed down from mankind’s first parents, the result was that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God pronounced judgment upon the world and destroyed all but 8 members of the human race in the Great Flood.

3) Human Government … From the Flood to Abraham

After the flood, God told Noah to go forth and replenish the Earth (Genesis 9:7). Noah’s descendants disobeyed God’s commandment, setting about instead to build a great city and tower from which to study the stars (Genesis 11:4). God confused man’s language, causing them to stop building the tower, and scattered them through out the world (Genesis 11:8-9).

4) Promise: From Abraham to Moses

God promised Abraham a homeland for his descendants (Genesis 17:8) and a son for him and Sarah (Genesis 17:15-16). But they grew tired of waiting and produced a son on their own, who they named Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-2.15). When God’s promised son Isaac was born, Ishmael was sent away (Genesis 21:8-13) causing enmity between the Jews (descendants of Isaac) and Arabs (descendants of Ishmael) that continues to this day. After Mohammed, a descendant of Ishmael’s, founded Islam this enmity took on religious significance and became even more intense.

5) Law: From Moses to Jesus

God gave Moses the 10 Commandments and promised the Jews a life of peace and plenty in a Kingdom of their own if they obeyed (Exodus 19:5Exodus 20:1-17). After repeated periods of disobedience which included rejecting their Messiah King, God withdrew His offer of the Kingdom and expelled them from their land (Matt. 21:43Luke 19:41-44).

6) Grace: From Pentecost to the Rapture—the Church Age

No longer requiring righteousness through works, God granted a righteousness by grace through faith in the completed work of Christ to all who accept, whether Jew or Gentile (Romans 3:21-24). Most will not accept and will be punished through eternity.

Note: It’s important to realize that Grace didn’t replace Law, it just interrupted it.  Law has another 7 years to run, called Daniel’s 70th Week (Daniel 9:24-27), which fills the time between the Rapture and the 2nd Coming. During this time all the nations to which Israel has been scattered will be completely destroyed and Israel will be disciplined in preparation for receiving the Kingdom (Jeremiah 30:4-11).

7) The Kingdom: The 1000 Year Reign of Christ that begins with the 2nd Coming

This time Israel will accept the Kingdom offer (Zechariah 12:10Zechariah 14:8-9). Satan will be bound (Rev. 20:2), all unbelievers will be expelled from the planet (Matt. 25:41-46), and God will once again dwell in the midst of His people (Ezek. 43:6-7). You’d think the world could finally live in a manner pleasing to God. But we can’t. Eventually, with the exception of Israel, the world will rebel against God and His people. God will send fire to consume them all (Rev. 20:7-10).

Source: https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/dispensationalism-2/

A chart demonstrating these 7 dispensations would look like this:

dispensations.jpg

We will examine Dispensational Theology in more depth another time, but for today let’s examine how the Feast of Pentecost fits in to a discussion of Dispensations.  The only two dispensations connected to Pentecost are Law and Grace (Church Age).

Shavuot – The Dispensation of Law Begins

Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks, is a memorial to the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai.  According to Hebrew4Christians, Shavuot at Mount Sinai is considered the day on which Judaism was born.  This is what we refer to as the giving of the Covenant of Moses, or the Laws of Moses.  We discussed this more fully in Part 1, The Giving of the Law, The Giving of Grace.

What is notable is that the Dispensation of Law ended on the day it began – Pentecost.

Pentecost – The Dispensation of Grace Begins

On the celebration of this feast day after Jesus’ resurrection, the Holy Spirit was given to the body of Christ in power and as a seal.  Thus, Pentecost is associated with the “birthday of the Church”.  In the church age, the Holy Spirit reveals to us the spirit behind the letter of the Law.  We refer to this as the age (or dispensation) of Grace.  Again, we discussed this more fully in Part 1, The Giving of the Law, The Giving of Grace.

Our question here is, will the Dispensation of Grace end on the day it began – Pentecost?

Pentecost – The Dispensation of Law + Grace Begins???

Once the Church Age ends with the removal of the Restrainer (the indwelling, sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit), it seems that salvation will be similar to how it was in the Old Testament under the Law.  The Holy Spirit will not be “gone” from the Earth, and He will still be involved in convicting of sin and leading people to repentance.  Salvation, as always, will be by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

However, it will be necessary to act out that faith, as per the parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew 25.  Believers will be held accountable for what they do, or do not do, as if it were for Jesus Himself.  It seems Tribulation-Age Saints will need to pray for God not to take His Holy Spirit from them as David did:

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit. 

Psalm 51:10-12 ESV

The Tribulation Saints will be responsible for remaining faithful in the face of severe deprivation and persecution.  The question is, when will the Grace Dispensation end and the Tribulation Dispensation begin?

Conceptions and Births

We mentioned above, that Shavuot, or the giving of the Law, was the “birth of Judaism”.  We also mentioned that Pentecost, or the giving of the Holy Spirit, was the “birth of Christianity”.  As Scottie Clarke has pointed out so succinctly… was this our birthday… or our conception?  What do you think?

If the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai was the conception of Judaism, was it birthed in fullness with the start of Christianity?  One might consider that to be true in some sense, as Christ was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  Matthew 5:17 ESV

One might then wonder… what will happen at the fulfillment of the church age?  The end times revolve around a theme of birth, birth pains, and deliverance.  More on that can be found here: Braxton Hicks, Labor Pains, and the Time of the End.

1200px-Birthday_candles.jpg

The Rapture of Enoch

Only two humans have ever been translated to heaven alive, bypassing death.  One of these is the Patriarch Enoch, who came before the global flood.  The other is Elijah, who was one of the Old Testament Prophets.  As far as I know, there is no mention of what day Elijah was raptured.  There is, however, tradition surrounding Enoch’s rapture.  Jack Kelley writes about it here:

By tradition, Enoch, one of the patriarchs from Genesis 5, was born on the day later to be known as Pentecost. Enoch’s name means “teaching,” a primary function of the Church (Matt. 28:19-20).  For this reason many scholars see him as a “type” of the church as well. Genesis 5:21-23 indicates that Enoch had a close relationship with God and was actually taken live (raptured) into Heaven before the Great Flood. Pre-Trib scholars see this event as one of several Old Testament hints that the Church will disappear from Earth before the Great Tribulation.

These same traditions also hold that Enoch was taken on his birthday. So here’s a man, identified with the Church, perhaps being born and raptured on the day that would become Pentecost, the day the Church was born.  Will the Church be raptured on our birthday, too?

Source: https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/holidays-and-holy-days/the-feast-of-pentecost/

The scripture passage is found here:

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah.  Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters.  Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.  Genesis 5:21-24 ESV

From Scripture itself, all we know is that Enoch was raptured before the flood.  We don’t know his birthday or which date he was taken from the Bible – this information comes from extrabiblical texts so should be taken with a grain of salt.

Interestingly, Enoch lived 365 years, which is the number of days in our post-flood calendar year.  His son, Methuselah, was the longest-lived human.  Methuselah’s name means “his death shall bring judgment”, and in the year when Methuselah died, the flood came.  I always wondered if there was a connection between the gap of time between Enoch’s rapture and the coming of the flood – the gap is 669 years.  Perhaps you can figure something out!

Besides the birthday connections, the Bible does contain some prophecies about Pentecost.  Let’s examine these next!

Pentecost Part 3 – Pentecost Prophecies

Main Pentecost Study Menu: Everything You Need to Know About Pentecost, the Feast that Ties It All Together For The Church


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

What Are the 7 Dispensations?  (GraceThruFaith)

What are the 7 Dispensations? (Gotquestions)

Meaning of the Names in Genesis 5 – God’s Redemption Story (Chuck Missler)

Does Scripture Support a Pentecost Rapture? (PDF – T.W. Tramm)

The Feast of Pentecost (GraceThruFaith)

Shavuot – Revelation and the Fruit of the Spirit (Hebrew4Christians)

The Mystery of Pentecost (Prophecy Watchers)

The Rapture of the Church – Our Blessed Hope

Braxton Hicks, Labor Pains, and the Time of the End

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

 

Pentecost Part 1 – The Giving of Law, The Giving of Grace

In studying the Feast of Pentecost, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that this celebration ties together many loose ends for the church.  What has started out as a single post is evolving into a series through which I hope to bring you along on this fascinating journey of discovery about Pentecost, perhaps our “highest watch date”:

  1. Pentecost Part 1 – The Giving of the Law, The Giving of Grace
  2. Pentecost Part 2 – The Feast That Marks Dispensation Changes and Birthdays
  3. Pentecost Part 3 – Pentecost Prophecies
  4. Pentecost Part 4 – Temples of God and the Removal of the Restrainer
  5. Pentecost Part 5- The Counting of the Omer – Day and Hour Unknown?
  6. Pentecost Part 6 – God’s Covenant Changes on Pentecost – It’s All About the Blood
  7. Pentecost Part 7 – A Picture of a Pentecost Rapture in Hebrews 12
  8. Pentecost Part 8 – Pentecost, Joel 2, and the Coming of the Day of the Lord
  9. Pentecost Part 9 – The Trumpets and the Feasts
  10. Pentecost Part 10 – The First Trump and the Last Trump – On Pentecost?
  11. Pentecost Part 11 – God’s Battle Cry in the Last Trump
  12. Pentecost Part 12 – Covenants Confirmed, Covenants Proclaimed
  13. Pentecost Part 13 – The Resurrection on the Last Day
  14. Pentecost Part 14 – The Harvest of the Church Pictured on Pentecost (Amos 8)
  15. Pentecost Part 15 – The Day the Skies Open
  16. The Feast of Weddings and Wedding Suppers

Overview of the Feasts of the Lord

God set appointed times on His calendar from the beginning of creation.  Genesis 1:14 declares “And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years”.  (ESV)  The sacred times, or seasons, are the fixed or “appointed” times when God would meet with His people.  These appointed times are illustrative pictures for humanity of God’s redemption plan.

The Hebrew word for “holy convocation” or “sacred assembly” is mikrah, which also means a “dress rehearsal”.  Every time these festivals are celebrated, it is a visual and spiritual aid to remind us of the prophetic plan of God.  Perhaps you are familiar with the ordinances of water baptism and communion, which similarly demonstrate spiritual truths.

There are seven Feasts of God.  You are likely most familiar with the three spring feasts – Unleavened Bread, Passover, and Firstfruits.  Unleavened Bread is the umbrella feast, and Passover (death and burial of Christ) and Firstfruits (resurrection of Christ) fall within it.  The late spring feast is called Pentecost.  The fall feasts include the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles).  These seven appointed times are collectively called the “moedim” and are detailed in Exodus 12-13, Leviticus 23, Numbers 28-29 and Deuteronomy 16.  Together, they represent Christ’s redemption of mankind from His death through to His millennial rule.

I want you to particularly note that these are the appointed feasts of the Lord, and as such, they transcend Israel. While they were initially given to Israel, they are just as applicable to believers today (just like the scriptures!).  These appointed times point clearly to Christ.  An overview of these can be found here: The Feasts of God – His Appointed Times.

Pentecost – an Overview

Pentecost, otherwise known as Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks, is one of God’s appointed times.  Gary Stearman of Prophecy Watchers describes Pentecost in this way:
We have demonstrated numerous remarkable connections between Pentecost and the prophetic conclusion of the church age. It is the fourth and central feast among the seven Feasts of Israel: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Tabernacles. The first three are spring festivals, representing the blood sacrifice and resurrection. The last three come in the fall, calling forth judgment and the establishment of the Kingdom. At the center – in the early summer – is Pentecost. In the Bible, it is represented by two loaves of leavened bread, held aloft by the High Priest. Today’s Jews celebrate it annually, in a ceremony called, “decorating the bride.” This reminds us of the church, the “bride of Christ.”
(Source: https://prophecywatchers.com/the-mystery-of-pentecost/)

Shavuot is considered the day on which Judaism was born (the Age of Law).  Pentecost is also considered the day on which the Church was born (the Age of Grace).  While it’s clear that much has occurred on Pentecost already, I challenge you to consider whether or not Pentecost has been completely fulfilled.  If not, what does that mean for us as the body of Christ?

Will a future Pentecost mark another dispensation change? 

I am thinking specifically of the end of the Church Age and the start of a 7 year “Age of Wrath”.  It’s certainly worth studying, so let’s delve into it!  I have used Hebrew4Christians as a resource when indicated by quotation marks and the source is here: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Shavuot/shavuot.html

Feasts.jpg

Passages Describing the Feast of Pentecost

When studying Biblical teaching, I believe it is always important to read the source for yourself.  Not just a verse or two, but the entire relevant passage.  This will sharpen your discernment skills, as you examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so.  Because we are going to be discussing Pentecost in great detail over the next few posts, I encourage you to read through the following passages at least once:

On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

 The Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

[10 Commandments Given]

18 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” 21 The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.

[Additional commandments Given – the Law]

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.”  And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.16 The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

(Exodus 19:1, 5-8, 10-20; 20:18-21; 24:3, 6-8, 15-17 ESV)

 “You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering.  You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the Lord.  You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the Lord.  And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one bull from the herd and two rams. They shall be a burnt offering to the Lord, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.  And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings.  And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the Lord for the priest.  And you shall make a proclamation on the same day. You shall hold a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a statute forever in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.  “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” 

(Leviticus 23:15-22 ESV)

26 On the day of the firstfruits, when you offer a grain offering of new grain to the Lord at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, 27 but offer a burnt offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; 28 also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for each bull, two tenths for one ram, 29 a tenth for each of the seven lambs; 30 with one male goat, to make atonement for you. 31 Besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, you shall offer them and their drink offering. See that they are without blemish. 

(Numbers 28:26-31 ESV)

You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. 10 Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you. 11 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there. 12 You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes. 

(Deuteronomy 16:9-12 ESV)

The First Pentecost (Shavuot) in the Old Covenant

Shavuot is the feast that marks the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai.  In this way, it can be considered the “birthday of Judaism”.  The first Shavuot occurred exactly 7 weeks after the Exodus on Sivan 6.  This feast became an agricultural celebration of God’s provision for Israel.  It marked one of the 3 times per year that adult men would need to go to Jerusalem to make sacrifices (the others being Unleavened Bread/Passover in the early spring and Tabernacles in the fall).  The first Shavuot is described in great detail in the above passages.

During the festival of Shavuot, a sample of the first of the wheat harvest (note that believers in Christ are often referred to as wheat, as opposed to tares) was brought to the priests.  This wheat was baked into two loaves of leavened bread and waved before the altar.  Notably, this is the only feast that includes leaven in the offering.  The purpose for the inclusion of leaven isn’t detailed, but I believe it possibly points to both Jew and Gentile being made into one body under the New Covenant.  A similar question might be – why are there TWO loaves, and not just one?  Could this be pointing to the same thing – Jew and Gentile made one under the New Covenant?

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,  and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.  (Ephesians 2:14-16 ESV)

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  (Galatians 3:28 ESV)

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.  (Colossians 3:11 ESV)

2 loaves.jpg

Awesome.  Let’s keep going.  Hebrew4Christians states in their article on Shavuot – “Moses ascended the mountain, and there God commanded him to tell the leaders that if they would obey the LORD and keep His covenant, then they would be the LORD’s “kingdom of priests and “holy nation“.”  (Exodus 19:6)  Hmmmm, does that phrase sound familiar?  In the Church Age fulfillment of Shavuot, we are also called a royal priesthood and holy nation:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)

Ok, carrying on!  The people respond that they will follow the LORD’s commandments and enter into covenant with Him.  [This, of course, is the covenant of the Law, which at the fulfillment of Passover gets superseded by the New and Better Covenant in Jesus’ blood.]  God tells them to “Be ready for the third day; for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people”.  In the meantime, they were to sanctify themselves via specific purification rites, which they carried out as directed.  In parallel, in the the new covenant, we are washed and purified by the blood of Jesus.

Incidentally, this “third day” was not repeated at Pentecost in 32AD (or whichever year Jesus died), nor is it prophesied to be repeated in the future – despite what some Catholic mysticism sites erroneously claim.

Hebrew4Christians continues – “Rabbinic tradition says that the Torah was actually given on the sixth of Sivan, the Shabbat following the new moon of Sivan that year.  On Shabbat morning of the sixth of Sivan, exactly seven weeks after the Exodus, all the children of Israel gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai, where the LORD descended amidst thunder, lightning, billowing smoke, fire, and the voluminous blast of the shofar.  The LORD then declared the foundation of moral conduct required of the people, the Ten Commandments.  The sound of a shofar grew louder and louder until terror gripped the heart of the people.  As the LORD began speaking the second commandment, however, the people began falling back in fear…”

Thunder, lightning, billowing smoke, fire, and the voluminous blast of the shofar sending terror into the heart of the people.  NOTE THIS!!!

giving of law.jpg

Moses then takes the blood of the sacrifices and throws half upon the altar and half upon the people, ratifying the covenant with blood (the new covenant is ratified in the blood of Christ).  Moses, Aaron, Aaron’s sons, and the 70 elders of Israel then ascended Mount Sinai to eat a “covenant affirmation meal” with the LORD.  Yes, these all dine with the LORD Himself (Exodus 24:9-11).  Hmmm, there’s an upcoming wedding feast where we will dine with the LORD Himself.  I wonder if it will occur in conjunction with a future Shavuot?

Greek translators later called Shavuot “Pentecost”, as it occurs 50 (penta) days after the Passover.  So that is what we will call it from now on.

The First Pentecost in the New Covenant

On to the New Testament and the New Covenant!  On the celebration of this feast day after Jesus’ resurrection, the Holy Spirit was given to the body of Christ in power and as a seal.  Thus, Pentecost is associated with the “birthday of the Church”.

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (Acts 2:1-4 ESV)

pentecost.jpg

The coming of the Holy Spirit upon all believers is unique to the church age.  In the Old Covenant (Age of Law), the Holy Spirit came upon specific individuals such as the kings, prophets, and judges.  In the New Covenant (Age of Grace), the Holy Spirit comes upon all believers at the moment of salvation to Seal them for the Day of Redemption.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed  for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30 ESV

This sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit I believe is a special key to understanding the seals of Revelation 6.  The transference of His sealing from the church to the 144,000 marks the opening of the Seals of Revelation and is detailed in this post:  Seals, Sealing, and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrew4Christians describes the festival of Shavuot as “the culmination of the redemption, sometimes called Atzeret Pesach, or “The Gathering of Passover””.  Culmination of redemption, and the gathering, hey?  Brings to mind these verses:

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him… (2 Thessalonians 2:1 ESV)

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  (Romans 8:22-23 ESV)

It’s looking like Pentecost just may be the feast that marks the culmination of our redemption.

Did Jesus Fulfill Shavuot / Pentecost Completely?

There is no question that Jesus fulfilled the first three Spring feasts in entirety through His death (Passover), burial (Unleavened Bread), and resurrection (Firstfruits).  When the Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost, was that the complete fulfillment of the late spring feast?

We noted above that the shadow (dress rehearsal) always points to the substance (fulfillment) – which is all found in Jesus Christ.  Jesus sent His Spirit to the church for this age, and that has typically been considered as the definitive fulfillment.  Recently, however, Greg at A Little Strength has noted that the Holy Spirit isn’t actually Christ Himself, nor did Jesus send Him.  It was the Father who sent the Holy Spirit to believers:

Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.   (Acts 2:33 ESV)

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  (John 14:26 ESV)

This may seem a little nitpicky, to argue over the Father versus the Son sending the Holy Spirit.  Bear with me.  Jesus literally fulfilled the first 3 Spring Feasts Himself in the same year.  He will literally fulfill the 3 Fall Feasts Himself in the same year, at the Second Coming.  Is this a clue that Jesus Himself will fulfill Pentecost – not the Father?

Could it be that BOTH the giving of the Law and the giving of the Holy Spirit were only partial (shadow) fulfillments of Pentecost?

Could it be that Jesus – Himself, literally – snatching His church on a future day of Pentecost will be the ultimate consummation of this feast?  We know He will literally and personally call us up to be with Him someday, right?  Isn’t it logical that it would be possibly timed to fulfill a Feast of the Lord?  I cannot say I have a prophetic answer for this, but this interpretation is worth considering, don’t you think?

For today, we need to further examine how Pentecost marks a change in God’s dealings with mankind, and we will do so in the next post:

Pentecost Part 2 – The Feast that Marks Dispensation Changes

Main Pentecost Study Menu: Everything You Need to Know About Pentecost, the Feast that Ties It All Together For The Church


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Does Scripture Support a Pentecost Rapture? (PDF – T.W. Tramm)

The Feast of Pentecost (GraceThruFaith)

Shavuot – Revelation and the Fruit of the Spirit (Hebrew4Christians)

The Mystery of Pentecost (Prophecy Watchers)

Sweet Hour of Prayer (A Little Strength)

The Rapture of the Church – Our Blessed Hope

Seals, Sealing, and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

 

 

Who Will Stand Before the Son of Man? Examining Luke 21:36

But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.  

Luke 21:36 ESV

I imagine if you are reading this, that you are interested in “escaping all these things” that are going to come upon the earth.  You want to be worthy, or have the strength, to stand before the Son of Man.  Let’s examine how to do so!

Stay Awake

Staying awake means being spiritually awake or alive, as opposed to being dead in our sins.  It means being clothed in the righteousness of Christ.  A parallel warning Jesus gives is to watch.  It involves a state of spiritual readiness.

So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.  1 Thessalonians 5:6 ESV 

Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.  Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:42-44 ESV

But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.  Luke 21:34 ESV

 You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.  Revelation 3:1-3 ESV

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.  Romans 13:11-14 ESV

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.  Revelation 3:18 ESV

(“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) Revelation 16:15 ESV

Paul rightly warns each and every one of us to examine ourselves, to see if we are in the faith.  Those who are truly saved will persist in the faith until the end (death or rapture).

Praying for Strength (Worthiness)

What about that word “strength”?  What does it mean to have the “strength” to escape?  The KJV translates it as being “accounted worthy”.  Who is worthy to escape all these things?

The word translated strength here is katischuo, Strong’s 2729.  There is only one occurrence for this particular word tense.

katischuó: to overpower

Original Word: κατισχύω
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: katischuó
Phonetic Spelling: (kat-is-khoo’-o)
Short Definition: I prevail against, overpower, am able
Definition: I prevail against, overpower, get the upper hand.

κατισχύω: imperfect κατίσχυον; future κατισχύσω; 1 aorist subjunctive 2 person plural κατισχύσητε (Luke 21:36 T Tr text WH); the Sept.mostly for חָזַק; among Greek writings especially by PolybiusDiodorusDionysius Halicarnassus; properly, to be strong to another’s detriment, to prevail against; to be superior in strength; to overpower: followed by an infinitive, Luke 21:36 T Tr text WH (prevail (i. e. have full strength) to escape etc.); to overcome, τίνος (Jeremiah 15:18), Matthew 16:18 (meaning, ‘not even the gates of Hades — than which nothing was supposed to be stronger — shall surpass the church in strength’); absolutely, to prevail (i. e. succeed, accomplish one’s desire): Luke 23:23.

Source: http://biblehub.com/greek/2729.htm

I am intrigued by the connections to of this word “strength” to overcoming, overpowering and prevailing.

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail [Strong’s 2729] against it.  Matthew 16:18 ESV

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.  Revelation 12:10-11 ESV

…if you confess with your mouth [word of their testimony, Rev 12] that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead [blood of the Lamb, Rev 12], you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  Romans 10:9-10 ESV

For everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  1 John 5:4-5 ESV

I believe that we have the strength, or are made worthy, to escape all these things not by anything we do.  I believe that the rapture is akin to salvation, in that everyone who would go to heaven if they died that moment will be taken in the rapture.  The rapture, as with salvation, is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  It is a gift, not by works, lest any man should boast.  So who will have the strength, or worthiness, to escape the coming wrath of God on earth?

The short answer is that everyone who confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead – these will be saved.  The true Church – the invisible body of Christ, all who are born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit – has the strength and is worthy!

Escaping All These Things

What are “all these things” that true believers will escape from?  I believe this includes all the events in the “7 year tribulation” period – the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.  This would include the effects of the 7 Seals and the wrath of God found in the 7 Trumpets and 7 Bowls.

Generically, these things include:

global earthquakes
volcanic eruptions
tsunamis
asteroid / meteorite collisions
economic collapse
famine
infectious disease outbreaks
wars

Specifically, these things also include:

  • An “antichrist” will be allowed to rise up to political and religious power, and will gradually establish a worldwide rule
  • Wars will be allowed to occur, likely centered in the middle east / around Israel
  • Famine, economic controls, and deaths will ensue, likely as a result of wars and the natural disasters (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, infectious disease)
  • There may be asteroid and meteorite collisions on or near earth
  • 1/3 of trees will be burned up, all green grass will be killed
  • 1/3 of the sea will “become like blood”
  • 1/3 of fresh water will be made bitter
  • 1/3 of the light from the sun, moon, and stars will be dimmed
  • supernatural creatures (fallen angelic beings) will torture humanity for 5 months with stings; death will be suspended
  • after that, a 200,000,000 strong fallen supernatural angelic army will kill 1/3 of humanity
  • lightnings, thunderings, earthquakes, great hail
  • in order to be able to buy or sell, some type of mark will be required to display allegiance to the “antichrist”.  This might involve DNA manipulation.
  • painful sores appear on humanity who take a mark of loyalty to buy and sell in the new world system
  • all the seas turn to blood
  • all fresh water turns to blood
  • sun becomes scorching hot for a time
  • the world will be plunged into darkness
  • the world will be gathered for battle
  • huge worldwide earthquake will flatten the mountains and make the islands disappear
  • 100 pound hailstones will fall

Perhaps if you were not interested in escaping all these things before, you are now!

Standing Before the Son of Man

Standing before the Son of Man I believe means literally standing before Jesus.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  Revelation 7:9-10 ESV

I understand that some are worried that if we admit to seeing the church in this passage then somehow it negates a pretribulation rapture.  This is not the case, I assure you 🙂  I have devoted several posts specifically to this great multitude:

Conclusion

But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.  

Luke 21:36 ESV

The true church, the “born again” believers that make up the body of Christ, is spiritually awake and will have the strength (worthiness) to escape all these things that are going to take place.  We are not destined for wrath.  The church will be safely whisked away and stand before the Son of Man while chaos and terrors unfold upon the earth behind them.

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.  You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.  So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.  For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Thessalonians 5:1-9 ESV

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—  among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV

This salvation event, the rapture, is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Oh the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus!  Thanks be to God, who pours out His lavish love towards us.

 


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The Overcomers – Studying the Letters to the Churches in Revelation 2&3

The Large Multitude Coming “Out Of” Great Tribulation – Part 1

The Large Multitude Coming “Out Of” Great Tribulation – Part 2

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

luke 2136

 

Part 2 – The Large Multitude Coming “Out Of” Great Tribulation

Continuing our study on where is the church in revelation (Part 1 – Where is the Church in Revelation?), we will examine the meat here – “coming out of great tribulation”.

Coming Out Of, erchomenoi ek

Ok now here’s the part you’ve been waiting for… “coming out of great tribulation”.  Let’s examine these individually, with the help of concordances!

Coming, erchomenoi, Strong’s 2064

  • This verb is defined as meaning “I come, go”.
  • The NAS Exhaustive Concordance translates it as:
    • arrival (1), arrived (1), brought (1), came (225), come (222), comes (64), coming (87), entered (2), expected (3), fall (2), falls (1), give (1), go (1), going (2), grown (1), lighting (1), next (1), turned (1), went (18).
  • Thayer’s Greek Lexicon describes it further as:
    • “to come from one place into another”
    • “to make one’s appearance”
    • “of time, in a future sense”
    • “equivalent to to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence”
  • Source: http://biblehub.com/greek/2064.htm

Out of, ek, Strong’s 1537

  • This word is a preposition, meaning “from out, out from among, from”
  • HELPS Word-studies adds “1537 ek (a preposition, written eks before a vowel) – properly, “out from and to” (the outcome); out from within1537 /ek (“out of”) is one of the most under-translated (and therefore mis-translated) Greek propositions – often being confined to the meaning “by.” 1537 (ek) has a two-layered meaning (“out from and to“) which makes it out-come oriented (out of the depths of the source and extending to its impact on the object).”
  • The NAS Exhaustive Concordance adds that it is a primitive preposition denoting origin
    • after (1), against (1), among (18), based (5), basis (2), because (10), belonged* (1), belonging* (1), depends (1), depends* (1), derived (1), grudgingly* (1), heavenly* (1), inspired (1), means (1), over (1), reason (1), result (4), say* (1), since (1), some (3), through (1), under (1), utterly* (1), way (1), without* (1).
  • Source: http://biblehub.com/greek/1537.htm

Thus the phrase “coming out of” would seem to suggest this great multitude would come out from among something, arising and showing itself, and finding place.  They are coming out of or away from the earth, and finding place in heaven before the throne of God.  Let’s examine what else they are coming away from – Great Tribulation.

Great Tribulation, thlipsis megales

Now here’s the crux of the matter.  Is this THE period of time known as the “greatest tribulation”?

Great, megales, Strong’s 3173

  • An adjective meaning large, great, in the widest sense
  • Thayer’s Greek Lexicon adds:
    • predicated of the external form or sensible appearance of things or of persons
    • of number and quantity, equivalent to numerous, large, abundant
    • used of intensity and its’ degrees, equivalent to violent, mighty, strong (it lists Revelation 6:13 here as a reference)
    • things to be esteemed highly for their importance; of great moment, of great weight
    • on a grand scale
  • Source: http://biblehub.com/greek/3173.htm

Tribulation, thlipsis, Strong’s 2347

Strong’s Concordance
thlipsis: tribulation
Original Word: θλῖψις, εως, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: thlipsis
Phonetic Spelling: (thlip’-sis)
Short Definition: persecution, affliction, distress
Definition: persecution, affliction, distress, tribulation.

HELPS Word-studies
2347 thlípsis – properly, pressure (what constricts or rubs together), used of a narrow place that “hems someone in”; tribulation, especially internal pressure that causes someone to feel confined (restricted, “without options”).

2347 /thlípsis (“compression, tribulation”) carries the challenge of coping with the internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there is “no way of escape” (“hemmed in”).

[By contrast, 4730 (stenoxōría) focuses on the external pressure exerted by circumstances.]

  • Source: http://biblehub.com/greek/2347.htm

From these definitions we can see that besides “great tribulation”, other possible meanings include “intense pressure, feeling that there is no way of escape”, “hemming someone in without options on a grand scale”, “numerous, or abundant, afflictions or distresses”, “intense persecution”, among others.

Matthew 24:21

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.  Matthew 24:21 ESV

In His sermon on the mount, Jesus describes a time of “great tribulation” (thlipsis megales), which will begin at the abomination of desolation event.  From studying parallel scriptures, we know that this is the period of time in which the saints are delivered into the antichrist’s hand.

Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.  Revelation 12:17 ESV

Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation,  and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.  Revelation 13:7-8 ESV

This group of saints are those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus, aka true believers.  I would assume these also come from all the tribes, peoples, languages, and nations and thus globally represent the Gentiles (the Woman represents believing Israel).  The beast (antichrist) is not given authority over the saints, he is given authority over everyone whose name has NOT been written in the Lamb’s book of life.  He is, however, allowed to make war on them and conquor (kill) them.

In Matthew 24:21 I believe it is clear from the context that the translation of “thlipsis megales” is equivalent to intense persecution, including martyrdom.

Does Great Tribulation = Intense Persecution?

The question is, does the “great tribulation” that the great multitude comes away from equal the “great tribulation” that the saints will face after the abomination of desolation event?  Many scholars (no matter rapture timing stance) say yes, and place Revelation 7 after the abomination of desolation.  Is this consistent with the Bible’s other teachings on “great tribulation”?  You know I love to dissect things so here goes…

We know that the great multitude arriving in heaven is monumental, and what they are coming away from or out of is also monumental.

We saw that “coming out of” would seem to suggest this great multitude would come out from among something, arise and show itself, and find place.  They are coming out of or away from what is happening on the earth, and finding place in heaven before the throne of God.

We saw above that besides “great tribulation”, other possible meanings for thlipsis megales include “intense pressure, feeling that there is no way of escape”, “hemming someone in without options on a grand scale”, “numerous, or abundant, afflictions or distresses”, “intense persecution”, among others.

There is nothing to suggest that the combination of these words together MUST refer to the same period of time, event, or exact meaning.

The Cause of Great Tribulation

If the description of the great multitude was given in Revelation chapter 4, I don’t believe we would be having this discussion.  The reason that we are, is that traditionally pre-tribulation scholars place the rapture in Revelation 4 and then don’t know what to say when we clearly show up in heaven in Revelation 7.  Hence, we have the prewrath rapture model to contend with.

I am suggesting to you that there IS a way to have us be seen in heaven in Revelation chapter 7, and that it is pretribulation.  This should give you a great sigh of relief!  If the Seals are a picture of the removal of the Restrainer from the earth, Seals 5 and 6 describe the resurrection and rapture event.  The cause of the calamity unfurling upon the earth in Seal 6 is the resurrection and rapture itself. 

Since we go when all the Seals are opened – that the seals opening are part of our escape – we do not experience “great tribulation or wrath”, but those left behind sure do!  And we are snatched (one might say, harpazo’d), violently and with great force, out of cataclysmic afflictions raining down upon the earth in our wake.  Remember that the dead in Christ kickstart the event.  You might want to read about the connections between resurrections to immortality and violent earthquakes:

It seems that the great earthquake discussed in Seal 6 (Revelation 6) is either caused by the resurrection/transformation of believers or immediately follows their resurrection/transformation.  I personally believe the global earth shaking may start as the dead in Christ are first raised, and continue as the living are transformed, carrying on while we are all caught up together.  The world will then deal with the devastation of the aftershocks, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions while we are safely tucked away in heaven.

Conclusion

I want you to consider that the great multitude showing up in heaven in Seal 6 is a result of the vast resurrection and rapture of the dead and alive in Christ.  These are coming away from, or out of, the time and place of intense, abundant, and severe afflictions and distresses coming upon the world.  These are coming upon the world BECAUSE of the resurrection / rapture event and the removal of the Restrainer.

Those who are left behind will experience an intense pressure, feeling that there is no way of escape from the monumental catastrophe unfolding.   They might even cry something like this:

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,  calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,  for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”  Revelation 6:15-17 ESV

I believe this is clearly pictured in other rapture passages:

While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape…   For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,  who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.  1 Thessalonians 5:3, 9-10 ESV

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.  For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  Luke 21:34-36

I want you to consider that WE are pictured escaping all these things that are going to take place, and standing before the Son of Man in Revelation 7 (Seal 6).


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

For further reading on this I *highly* recommend Douglas Berner’s book “When God Intervenes” as well as David Lowe’s book “Earthquake Resurrection”.  A summary of the Earthquake – Resurrection pattern is in my post HERE.  A detailed description of the Red Moon Rapture is also given at Beginning and End.

The Great Multitude – Part 1

The Four Horsemen – Seals 1-4

The Martyrs Under the Altar – Seal 5

The Blood Moon – Seal 6

Heavenly Silence – Seal 7

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

glorious-rapture-day2

 

Part 1 – Where is the Church in Revelation?

Traditional pretribulation rapture theory suggests that the church is represented in heaven by the 24 Elders seen in Revelation chapters 4&5.  It states that the entire resurrection of the dead in Christ / rapture sequence is pictured when John sees a door standing open in heaven and Jesus tells him to “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this” (Revelation 4:1 ESV).

We have seen that Jesus places an “open door that no one can shut” before the church of Philadelphia.  This is the church that is truly following Him, and will be kept “from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth” (Revelation 3:10 ESV).  So in that sense, yes they will have an open door into heaven at some point!  This passage reference a messianic prophecy in Isaiah:

And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.  Isaiah 22:22 ESV

Gotquestions explains this reference as a description of Jesus’ holiness, sovereignty, and authority.  Jesus is the one who opens and shuts, perhaps referencing blessings or opportunities to this faithful church.

The resurrection/rapture event occurs with a trumpet blast and a shout from God – this likely *is* the phrase “Come up here!”  However, I believe that instead of a single door opening up for the billions of resurrected and raptured in Christ, the entire sky will open up!   This is pictured in Seal 6 and is discussed here:  The Blood Moon – Seal 6

As far as the 24 Elders, these show up in heaven before the Lamb, so cannot be the church.  I have devoted an entire post to them here: Who are the 24 Elders in the Heavenly Temple?

Traditional models then state that the church isn’t seen in Revelation again until Chapter 19 when we return with Christ.  I do agree we return with Christ in Chapter 19, but I also find us pictured very plainly in Revelation chapter 7.  And this is where the models need a little tweaking in my opinion.

Who Can Stand?

Revelation 7 forms a parenthesis around the action (I like to call them Detail Popouts) to describe two specific groups of people – one on earth and one in heaven.  This is a continuation of the events of Seal 6 – the seventh seal is not opened until after John describes these groups.  Remember right before this vision there has been a catastrophic shaking of the earth, the rapture occurs, and everyone left behind is terrified:

 

Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,  calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,  for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”  Revelation 6:15-17 ESV

Revelation 7 answers the question  “who is able to stand?”.  Two groups will be able to stand:

  1. The 144,000 servants of God.  These are literally 12,000 ethnic Hebrews from the tribes of Israel as described in Revelation 7.  These are discussed more fully here:  Who Are the 144,000?
  2. The Large Multitude – I believe this large multitude represents the invisible body of Christ – the newly resurrected and raptured Church.

I’m guessing it’s going to take some convincing for you guys to believe me, so here goes!

The Great Multitude

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
    and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
    the sun shall not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 7:9-17 ESV

From this passage, we learn a number of things:

  • A great multitude shows up in heaven that is so large it cannot be numbered
  • It includes people from every nation, tribe, people, and language
  • They are not angels nor elders nor the 4 living creatures
  • They stand before the throne (God the Father) and the Lamb
  • They rejoice about salvation
  • They wave palm branches
  • They are clothed in white robes, washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb
  • They serve God day and night in His temple
  • They will be sheltered by God’s presence
  • They will no longer hunger
  • They will no longer thirst, they will be guided to springs of living water
  • They will not be struck by the sun or scorching heat
  • The Lamb will be their shepherd
  • God will wipe every tear from their eyes
  • They come out of great tribulation

Who Is the Great Multitude?

The great multitude includes people from every tribe, language, people, and nation.  John uses this phrase seven times within the book of Revelation.  It is an inclusive phrase that refers to all of humanity irrespective of race or origin.

For you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.  Revelation 5:9 ESV

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.  Revelation 7:9 ESV

And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”  Revelation 10:11 ESV

For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb.  Revelation 11:9 ESV

Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation.  Revelation 13:7 ESV

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people… Revelation 14:6 ESV

And the angel said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages.”  Revelation 17:15 ESV

The great multitude that suddenly appears in heaven is so large that it cannot be numbered – well, not by John anyways.  This is as opposed to the angels, who can be numbered by John.  In Revelation 5:11, John describes the group of angels as “thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand”.  John refers to the size of an army as “twice ten thousand times ten thousand” (two hundred million) in the sixth trumpet judgment.  In Revelation 12:3-4 we see that 1/3 of the angels are cast down from heaven – 1/3 indicates that there is a total sum which can be apparently known and divided.  Thus, it would seem that this great multitude has far more than two hundred million members.

There are members in this great multitude from all over the world – every tribe, language, nation, and people.  Thus, we know that these are humans.  They are not angels, nor elders, nor the 4 living creatures (cherubim).

From Revelation 5:9 above, we see that this group was ransomed for God through the blood of Jesus Christ.  These are Christ-followers – believers.  This great multitude is a result of the great commission, taking the gospel to all the ends of the earth:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… Matthew 28:19 ESV

through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations… Romans 1:5 ESV

This great multitude shows up all at once as a group.  If this is not the church, then where is the church hiding in Revelation?  John sees many groups and scenes in heaven; surely the church is significant enough to be pictured.

The great multitude that John sees in Revelation chapter 7 is too large to be the tribulation martyrs.  These will trickle in individually and in small groups, which we see in Revelation 15.  The only exception to this is the 144,000 who later do appear in heaven as a group, perhaps being martyred together shortly after the 2 Witnesses are killed.

How Many People Will Be Resurrected / Raptured?

Of course only God knows how many people will be resurrected and raptured.  All we can do is hazard an educated guess.  From world population growth statistics, the dead in Christ may number millions.  I personally believe the resurrection event will include believers in the coming Messiah, pre-cross, which would add millions more.

world-population-growth.jpg

The alive in Christ which will be transformed may number hundreds of millions, even a billion?  There are approximately 2.5 billion people worldwide claiming to be of the Christian religion, but as we see from studies on Biblical Worldview (Christianity 101), many of these are likely not truly “born again”.

biblical worldview.jpg

I believe the largest contribution, however, will come from the dead innocents – the miscarried, aborted, stillbirths, and young children.  Those who are under a certain intellectual comprehension level (judged only by God and not by age) are not under the Law and are innocent in its’ sight.  This number, from abortions alone, is close to 2 Billion. (http://www.numberofabortions.com/)

Combining the groups of people above, there will certainly be billions of people resurrected and raptured forming a great multitude – too large for anyone but God to count.

Rejoicing in Salvation

This large multitude is standing before the Throne of God and the Lamb, waving palm branches and rejoicing about salvation.  The rapture is akin to salvation – in that one moment in time, all those who would go to heaven if they died, will be taken.

These are the overcomers, as described in Revelation chapters 2&3.  All believers are called to be the overcomers.  All believers will experience all the blessings promised to the overcomers.  These will be kept from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world (Revelation 3:10).

For everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only the one who believers that Jesus is the Son of God.  1 John 5:4-5 ESV

Salvation has come through the power of Christ – the power of resurrection and eternal life – our blessed hope, the rapture!  I believe that Revelation 12:10 describes this same event from a different vantage point:

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.  Revelation 12:10 ESV

There will be no one left to accuse in only one moment of human existence – immediately following the rapture of the church.  For more study on these please see:

Waving Palm Branches

The waving of palm branches is significant in that it indicates victory – in this case, victory over the flesh even unto the point of death, and over death itself.  Wikipedia states this:

In Christianity, the palm branch is associated particularly with Palm Sunday, when according to Christian tradition palm branches were waved at the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It was adopted into Christian iconography to represent the victory of martyrs, or the victory of the spirit over the flesh.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_branch

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  Romans 7:24-25 ESV

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.  2 Corinthians 2:14 ESV

Aha!  You are saying.  Victory even unto the point of death!  These must by tribulation martyrs.

Must they?

Remember that this great multitude will include the souls (now embodied) that had been crying out under the altar, some of them for hundreds or thousands of years, in Seal 5.  Let’s examine Seal 5 more closely.

The Seal 5 Martyrs

When seal 5 is opened, the martyrs receive their white robes and are told to “rest a little longer”.  Douglas Berner, in his book Earthquake Resurrection, provides the only logical explanation for the white robes these saints are given.  We never see souls wearing robes – spirits don’t need clothes.  Humans get their white robes when they get their resurrection bodies.  This is confirmed when we see the tribulation martyrs specifically start popping up beside the Crystal Sea in Revelation 15 and the 144,000 appearing in heaven (likely as marytrs) in Revelation 14.  Neither of these groups are robed – they are souls and will be resurrected to eternal bodies in Revelation 20 at the inauguration of the Millennial Kingdom.

Seal 5 is a picture of the dead in Christ rising and being transformed into robed resurrection bodies, followed immediately by Seal 6 where the ones still alive and remaining are transformed.   This process is described in Isaiah 26:

Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.
    You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
For your dew is a dew of light,
    and the earth will give birth to the dead.

 Come, my people, enter your chambers,
    and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
    until the fury has passed by.
 For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place
    to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,
and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
    and will no more cover its slain.

Isaiah 26:19-21 ESV

We are then all caught up together!  John sees us when we have been brought to the throne of God together – and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Clothed in White Robes

We are clothed in white robes, washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.  The holiness and righteousness of Christ clothes us so that we are counted as holy and righteous as well:

But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.  Revelation 3:4 ESV

I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  Isaiah 61:10 ESV

He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him ” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.”  Zechariah 3:4 ESV

 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.  Revelation 19:8 ESV

The body of Christ, both dead and alive, will enter our rest in heaven as per Isaiah 26.  Meanwhile on earth, the number of martyrs will continue accumulating until their fullness is complete (Rev 6:11).  The souls of these martyrs accumulate on the sea of glass in heaven (Rev 15:2).  For more study on this, please see:

No Longer Hunger or Thirst…

We are going to examine the other descriptions given about this great multitude here.

They serve God day and night in His temple:

  • All believers, the overcomers, will be made into kings and priests.  Not only will we reign with Christ as kings, we will serve Him as priests.  Priesthood is an office of the temple!
  • “…and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”  Revelation 5:10 ESV
  • “…and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  Revelation 1:6 ESV
  • “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”.  1 Peter 2:9 ESV
  • Revelation 3:12 states that the overcomers (all believers) will be made into pillars in the temple of God.  Being made a pillar signifies stability, permanence, remembrance, and honor.
  • Genesis 28:22 mentions a stone being set up as a pillar for God’s house.  Perhaps this passage indicates that we will become living pillars in the eternal temple of God.

They will be sheltered by God’s presence:

  • “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”  1 Thessalonians 4:17 ESV
  • “He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”  Psalm 91:4 ESV

They will no longer hunger or thirst, they will be guided to springs of living water:

  • Revelation 2:17 describes all true believers being given hidden manna.  This perhaps refers to Jesus as our Bread of Life; we will no longer lack any spiritual sustenance or go through spiritual wilderness.
  • “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35 ESV)

They will not be struck by the sun or scorching heat:

  • There are specific judgments coming in the tribulation period that involve the sun and scorching heat:
    • Trumpet 1- fire mixed with blood
    • Trumpet 2 – great burning mountain cast into sea
    • Trumpet 3 – great star falls from heaven
    • Bowl 4 – Sun scorches people with fierce heat
  • These overcomers will be spared from these judgments as well as all the rest of the Trumpets and Bowls and the effects of the Seals.

The Lamb will be their shepherd:

  • Jesus is the chief shepherd, and we are his lambs – the people of His pasture.
  • “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 ESV)
  • “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord…”  Hebrews 13:20 ESV

God will wipe every tear from their eyes:

  • I believe this is a fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15:50-55 (ESV):I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

    “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
    55 “O death, where is your victory?
        O death, where is your sting?”

    The sting of death will be removed from us when we are reunited with our loved ones in heaven.  When the dead are raised imperishable at the resurrection, and we are transformed to immortality, we will experience Christ’s victory over death in a very real and powerful way!

  • This wiping of tears is later repeated in Revelation 21:4, which states “and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (ESV).  This complete fulfillment of the last enemy to be defeated – death – will come at the end of the Millennial Kingdom rule.

 

Continue to Part 2:  The Great Multitude Part 2


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

For further reading on this I *highly* recommend Douglas Berner’s book “When God Intervenes” as well as David Lowe’s book “Earthquake Resurrection”.  A summary of the Earthquake – Resurrection pattern is in my post HERE.  A detailed description of the Red Moon Rapture is also given at Beginning and End.

The Martyrs Under the Altar – Seal 5

The Blood Moon – Seal 6

Heavenly Silence – Seal 7

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

 

large multitude

 

The Prophetic Significance of Blood Moons, and How They Relate to the Rapture of the Church

The blood moon is a major key in Biblical Prophecy.  You probably already know this.  What you may not know, is that “blood moons” (plural) and “blood moon tetrads” are NOT scriptural.  There is one and only one prophetic “blood moon” mentioned in the Bible, and it most certainly has not occurred yet.

“Blood Moon Tetrads”

I greatly respect my fellow watchmen who are studying the possible prophetic significance and connections with dates, day counts, and eclipses.  This blood moon study is nothing against them personally as I consider them to be fellow comrades in this last stretch of watching we are in.  However, I personally feel that these studies tend to stray into extrabiblical territory and am steering clear of such things. The chance of eclipses occurring during spring and fall feast dates are actually quite high, since the Hebrew calendar is a lunar one 😉

I have examined the historical occurrences of the “blood moon tetrads”, and significant events sometimes occurred before these tetrads, sometimes after, and sometimes during.  To put this another way, if the significant event occurred before a tetrad, the tetrad would be a pretty poor prophetic marker, would it not?  Coming AFTER the event it is supposed to foretell?  Take a look for yourself, and ask if these “blood moon tetrads” would have warned you that something bad (unspecified, and not mentioned in scripture) was about to take place:

tetrads.png

We also know from hindsight that nothing prophetic specifically occurred in 2014-15 in conjunction with those “blood moon tetrads”.  I was watching on the Fall Feasts then as I continue to do, and was hoping for the rapture of course.  I’m always hoping for the rapture :).  There are many prophetic things occurring rapidly as a sign of the season we are in, but in my honest opinion these do not relate to eclipses.  For more on the converging of signs in our day, please see: Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign – The Convergence is Now.

The Singular Prophetic Blood Moon

The Blood Moon occurs 3 times in scripture.  Once, prophetically in Joel 2, once prophetically in Acts 2, and once, the fulfillment, at Seal 6.   Let’s examine it closely:

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Joel 2:28-32 ESV  

Of great interest is the way Peter quoted Joel 2 in Acts 2:16-21.  Through this passage, I believe he announces the beginning and end of the church age.  Peter affirms that the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost was a partial fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy:

 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

[start of church age]

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

[church age]

19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
    before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

[end of church age]

 

Verses 17-18 mark the beginning of the Church Age – its’ conception, if you will (borrowing Scottie Clark’s terminology and using the frequent birth analogy that is found in Scripture).  At the start of the church age is the mystery of the new birth; being “born again” spiritually and sealed by the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Instead of only being upon God’s prophets and holy men, the Holy Spirit is now gifted to all who believe.  This gifting of the Holy Spirit is marked by prophecy, visions, dreams, and many  other spiritual gifts not mentioned here, but above all – sealing.

There is a pregnant pause“, so to speak, between Verses 18 and 19.

Verses 19-21 mark the end of the Church Age – its’ birth.  This is the redemption of our bodies!  Note that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, before the day of the Lord.  The end of the Holy Spirit’s sealing ministry in the church will be marked by wonders in the heavens, signs on the earth, blood, fire, vapor of smoke, darkened sun, and a blood red moon.  These events and signs clearly did not occur on the first Pentecost, so why would Peter mention them in his sermon?  Could it be that he is announcing the future fulfillment of the remainder of Joel’s prophecy?

The Blood Moon Prophecy Fulfillment

If Peter is telling us that the church age will end with the signs detailed in Acts 2:19-21, where do we find a match for this in scripture?  There is only one place:

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood,  and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.  The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.  Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,  calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,  for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”  Revelation 6:12-17 ESV

The prophetic blood moon fulfillment is found in Revelation chapter 6, during Seal 6.  There is no getting around this.  Far from being an eclipse, it will be visible globally.  I anticipate that it will be caused by atmospheric ash and smoke worldwide, as the Joel 2 prophecy describes.

The End of the Church Age

Q – When will the Church Age, the “dispensation of grace”, end?

A – When the Holy Spirit is removed just as He came, along with all who have Him inside them as a seal.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”  (Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV). 

I believe the Holy Spirit’s sealing ministry in the body of Christ, at the time of the rapture, ends with the opening of the Seals in Revelation.  I believe all the seals are opened at the same time, which melds the pre-tribulation and pre-wrath views together seamlessly in this regard.  The rapture itself is pictured in Seals 5 & 6.  The end of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the church will be marked by wonders in the heavens, signs on the earth, blood, fire, vapor of smoke, darkened sun, and a blood red moon.  It will occur before the day of the Lord begins, pre-tribulation.  We will enter our chambers until the indignation is past.

Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.
    You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
For your dew is a dew of light,
    and the earth will give birth to the dead.

 Come, my people, enter your chambers,
    and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
    until the fury has passed by.
 For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place
    to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,
and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
    and will no more cover its slain.

Isaiah 26:19-21 ESV


Further Reading:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

The Rapture of the Church – Our Blessed Hope

Braxton Hicks, Labor Pains, and the Time of the End

The Blood Moon Sign

The Noisy, Not-So-Secret Rapture of the Church

Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and the Rapture of the Church (Cascadia Subduction Zone & Yellowstone Supervolcano)

Seals, Sealing, and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

The Four Horsemen – Seals 1-4

The Martyrs Under the Altar – Seal 5

The Blood Moon – Seal 6

Heavenly Silence – Seal 7

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

RMR