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FIRST FRUITS

By Bob Barney.   APRIL 10th is the FEAST of FIRST FRUITS!

1One of the most obscure holidays in the Bible is the one called "First-fruits."  Confusion concerning this day is that the celebration of Pentecost is also referred to as first-fruits in scripture, but  a careful reading of scripture shows us that the actual Feast of First-Fruits occurs directly after Passover, and it is the day that one starts county 50 days until the arrival of Pentecost, called counter the Omer.  However the actual date that First-fruits falls on is another, in a long line of mistakes often followed by God's Church.  Because Christ rose from the dead after 3 days, most agree that the date of First-Fruits is Abib 16th.  There are several problems with that date however. First Christ did not raise from the dead on Abib 16th,  but rather the 18th day of the first month.  Christ died on a Wednesday, the 15th day of the month. Thursday, the 16th, he was dead, and so Friday the 17th.  He rose late Saturday night on the 18th of the first month (See are article on God's Calendar).

Over the years, the above statements by myself has received  the most objection.  Most want to place First-Fruits within the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and on the day Jesus rose from the dead.  It could not be so, and here is the Bible verse which makes it doubtful: " From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord. 18 Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the Lord, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings—a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.19 Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering[c] and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. 20 The priest is to wave the two lambs before the Lord as a wave offering, together with the bread of the first-fruits. They are a sacred offering to the Lord for the priest. 21 On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live."

Reading Leviticus 23 can be confusing, as some read the above verse as pertaining to Pentecost, however, verse 20 makes it quite clear that the two loaves with YEAST happens on First-Fruits. Since we can not consume bread with yeast during unleavened bread, it makes sense that this day must be after the days of unleavened bread.  The Sabbath could be the Saturday Sabbath, but most likely it is the High Sabbath that occurs on the last day of Passover Week.  Making the twenty second the date of First-Fruits.

Although it may make sense that Jesus rising from the dead seems to be First-Fruits, possibly there is something different in it's meaning.  I think the clue to this is what Jesus told Mary in John chapter 20.  After Jesus has left the tomb, He appears to Mary. At first she does not recognize him.  When she does, she apparently grabs and hugs him in excitement. Jesus says to her, " Do not hang on to me, for I have not ascended to My Father..."  What could that possibly mean? This passage has given rise to a variety of interpretations. Jesus required Thomas to touch him John 20:27, and it has been difficult to ascertain why he forbade this now to Mary. It seems likely that the Feast of First-Fruits IS NOT symbolizing the day Jesus rose from the dead, but the day Jesus presented his Blood in Heaven to the father the day after Passover week.

Although He told Mary he had not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17), which is First-Fruits, His blood was to be offered on the mercy seat (Hebrews 8:3-6) in the Heavenly Temple on the Day of First-Fruits.  Eight days later (and after First-Fruits), He appeared to Thomas and the other disciples after this had happened which is why he said peace (Shalom) to them and allowed him to feel his wounds and hold on to Him as proof (John 20:19). So, it is MY OPINION (not scripture friends) that on the Day of First-Fruits (TODAY, the twenty-second day of the first month of Abib, He had made peace for us by His blood to our Father in Heaven. (Colossians 1:19-20).  Today, not on the day of His resurrection, Christ became our First-Fruits!  1 Corinthians 15:20..." But now Christ is risen from the dead, and became the firstfruits of those who slept."


The real Passover ends tonight, as others start to celebrate it on the 20th

Bob Barney
    Tonight marks the end of Passover, the seven days of unleavened bread that God told us to Feastofthelord observe as an everlasting memorial where nobody is supposed to eat anything that contains yeast. Yeast, or leaven, symbolizes sin as unleavened symbolizes God's sinless nature. The Bible only has one definition of sin that most just don't like to know. "Sin IS the transgression of the Law." If the Law has been "done away with" then there is no sin! We are instructed to follow the Biblical rather than our pagan holidays in order to understand just how we are supposed to live in our present moral lives. God's true holidays paint a picture of the perfect world that is coming with Jesus when he returns to earth. No, he will not be following Easter, but he will be commanding all of us to observe the holidays set forth by Him in the Bible.

Most of the world, including Jews, Messianic Jews and seventh-day Christians observe Tonight as the start of Passover, as they follow a lunar, Babylonian inspired calendar. So for those observers... Happy Passover!

Tomorrow is yet another holiday for God's church, it is called The Feast of Unleavened Bread! Then afterwards comes the last spring Holy Day called FIRST FRUITS.  That's after the seven  days, we call Passover week Starting the day AFTER Passover week on First Fruits, we are to begin counting 50 days to the next big holiday in God's seasonal plan called PENTECOST. On Pentecost, two major events happened. The first was it was on Pentecost that Moses received the TEN COMMANDMENTS from Jesus (The God of the Old Testament) and second, it is the holiday that the New Testament church received the Holy Spirit! Now can you understand better why both events happened on this day? It is because God's Law is still in force today, but in the New Testament, the Law has moved from stone, to our hearts and minds by the power of the Spirit!

When we follow God's seasonal holidays, God's plan becomes simple to see.


Yes, New Year's Day is Pagan too....

In the earliest days of the Church (the first and second centuries after Christ) there were no such celebrations as Christmas and New Year’s Day. 

The New Catholic Encyclopedia states:  “According to the hypothesis … accepted by most scholars today, the birth of Christ was assigned the date of the winter solstice (December 25 in the Julian [Roman] Calendar, January 6 in the Egyptian), because on this day, as the sun began to return to northern skies, the pagan devotees of Mithra celebrated dies natalis Solis Invicti (birthday of the invincible sun)” (1967, Vol. 3, p. 656).

Those customs carried over in the observance of Christmas (with its many traditions and practices steeped in paganism), and the “birth” of the “new year” of the sun. This is why the Roman calendar in use today designates Jan. 1 as the beginning of the new year as opposed to God’s designation of the spring month of Abib or Nisan on the Hebrew calendar as the beginning of the year (Exodus 12:1-2).

Much of the symbolism associated with New Year’s celebrations today has very definite pagan origins. Kissing at the moment of transition to the next year is rooted in pagan sexual practice and superstition. And evergreen wreaths associated with Christmas were originally part of the pagan Calend celebration of Jan. 1.

Because we live in this secular society and most of the world operates according to the commonly used Roman calendar, it’s common to think of a new calendar year as beginning Jan. 1. Yet involvement in the celebration of that is not appropriate.   Read the Rest


The Meaning of Christmas

Forward by Bob Barney:  The following is an article that was published around 1900!  I think those who still think Christmas has something to do with the birth of Jesus (which it doesn't) will be surprised that even over a 100 years ago, when WE THINK people knew the so-called "true meaning of Christmas," THEY DIDN'T!

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.
Frank Leslie's Weekly - The Meaning of Christmas

Frank Leslie’s Weekly – The Meaning of Christmas

The Meaning of Christmas

By SIGMUND SPAETH

THE FIRST man I addressed was of the brisk business type. He had the gruff air of complete absorption which most business men consider it necessary to assume.

“What does Christmas mean to you?” I asked.

He looked at me sharply and answered, “I have no time for either reporters or lunatics.”

“But this is a serious question,” I insisted. “I desire information. How can I discover the meaning of the whole thing if nobody will answer me?”

He relented a little and replied, in a more friendly tone, “To me Christmas means prosperity. It means the busiest time of the year. It means big sales and big profits. That’s all I know about it.” And he hurried off.

I next accosted a well-known lawyer. He was a big, kindly man, and he listened to my question with interest. But his face clouded as he answered, “Christmas is to me an annual reminder of all the crime and misery in the world. The peace and good-will of the rich only serve to accentuate the wretchedness of the poor. The criminal courts are filled each year with those who would be honorable men if they possessed only a very small share of the Christmas gifts which are a natural part of our own care-free lives. It is a sad thought.”

I pondered over these words, but soon hastened on to find a new victim for my questioning. It happened to be a clerk, a small, nervous man, obviously over-worked.

“What does Christmas mean to me?” he asked. “Well, for one thing it means a holiday—and that is always a relief. I get a chance to see something of my family, to spend a day with the children. But it’s embarrassing, too. It has its unpleasant side. I can’t afford to do what I would like in the way of gifts, and I’m always afraid that the fact is noticeable. My wife and I decided several years ago to omit all presents to each other and concentrate on the children. But even at that our celebration is a very modest affair. I wish the cost of living were not so high.” And he also hurried off, with a feeble imitation of the absorbed air of the business man.

My next question was addressed to a successful physician. He laughed as he answered, “It’s pretty hard for me to get away from my profession. I suppose Christmas means no more to me than so many extra cases of indigestion to be cured and so many more colds to be attended to. It merely adds one more to the many occasions on which the power of medicine can be proved.”

I turned to an actor of world-wide reputation. “Does Christmas mean anything to you?” I asked.

“It means my busy day,” he answered gruffly. “We stage people have no real Christmas. There is always an evening performance and usually a matinee as well. We are worked harder on Christmas Day than at any other time in the year.”

I was disappointed, but hastened to take up the subject with a singer, one who was chiefly noted for church work.

“Oh,” he answered enthusiastically, “Christmas means much to me! There are so many services and the Christmas music is so wonderful. I always look forward to it. There is nothing that brings out the beauties of my voice so well as the Christmas carols, and the more elaborate things give me an opportunity for a really fine display of technique.”

Again I was disappointed, but again I turned hopefully, this time to a teacher. Here at least, I thought, I shall find a deeply spiritual reply, full of a mystic meaning. So I asked my question confidently, and I listened with hopeful attention as I saw the gleam of pleasure in his eyes.

“The meaning of Christmas?” he fairly shouted. “It means joy! Joy! Joy! Two full weeks of vacation! No classes to teach! No papers to correct! No unruly boys to reprimand! Could anything be pleasanter? Sleigh rides, theaters, books, dinners! Oh, the joys of Christmas are countless!”

I left him to his ecstatic ravings and sought out a social worker of long experience. This man, at least, must have some truth to impart. “Christmas,” he said slowly, “to me means simply hard labor. It means days of unpleasant begging, sometimes on the street corners, sometimes at the homes of the rich. It means the stupendous task of feeding and clothing thousands of the poor. And it means that when our work is done we get very little gratitude, very little appreciation. It is expected of us. Some keep their cheerful faces year after year and imagine that they really enjoy their work. To me it has become mere drudgery.” Even after this rebuff I did not give up hope altogether. But I said to myself, “I must find a real interpreter of Christianity. I shall ask a minister of the Gospel.” The reply which I received proved most disappointing of all.

“Yes, I like Christmas,” said the clergyman pleasantly. “It is what I may call my easy day. The sermon requires almost no preparation. The congregation enters into the spirit of the day and helps me in every way possible. I receive many substantial evidences of the generosity of my parishioners, so that, on the whole, I am always happy, contented and possibly a little lazy on Christmas Day.”

The unexpectedness of this answer so upset my calculations that I jumped at once to the opposite extreme. I picked out a miserable tramp, the very type of neglected humanity, arguing that all my attempts so far had been directed too much toward the higher and more prosperous classes. The tramp grinned cheerfully as he answered my question.

“Christmas? That’s somethin’ like Thanksgivin’, ain’t it? Them’s my two big feed days for the year. You can work a graft so as to eat three full charity dinners in the same afternoon, if you can hold ‘em. I generally fills up fer about a week, countin’ what I stows in my clothes. But it makes the rest of the year all the worse. Rich people seem to think that us poor guys don’t have to eat no more than once or twice in twelve months. If it wasn’t for the cold weather, I’d want Christmas every day.”

I might have foreseen this. My first track was the right one, after all; yet I seemed to have exhausted all the possible sources of information. No; there was one left. “Out of the mouth of babes,” I said to myself, and hunted up a child.

“Christmas? Don’t you know what Christmas means?” the child asked, in wide-eyed wonder. “I guess you haven’t been educated very well. But I’ll tell you all about it. Christmas is the day when Santa Claus was born and all the angels sang a song for the shepherds to listen to. And they told them to go around and give presents to each other forever after, world without end, amen. That’s why I always go to two Sunday schools a whole month before Christmas. They have trees and lights and candy and oranges in pink tissue paper, and Santa Claus is there himself and gives the things out, and the superintendent tells us what good children we are, and everybody eats a lot, and we get presents at home and turkey and hang our stockings up and everything. Didn’t you know that?”

“Well, not quite in that way,” I answered, catching feebly at a straw. “Isn’t there anything else?”

“Oh, parties and ice cream and candy canes and dolls and holly berries and mince pie and— —”

“And the people are just the same as any other day?” I interrupted.

“Well, no,” the child answered reflectively. “I think everybody tries to be a little extra nice. Papa doesn’t say a cross word to mamma all day, and I let my little brother play with my toys if he wants to, and the cook doesn’t chase us out of the kitchen when we come to smell the turkey roasting. She gives us little heart-shaped ginger cakes instead. I guess everybody loves everybody else on Christmas Day.”

“At last!” I breathed, with a sigh of relief.

Frank Leslie's Weekly - The Meaning of Christmas

Frank Leslie’s Weekly – The Meaning of Christmas

Source: Frank Leslies Weekly, December 5, 1912
Top image: Frank Leslies Weekly, December 10, 1913
Middle image: Frank Leslies Weekly, December 10, 1908
Bottom image: Frank Leslies Weekly, December 13, 1906

 


Was Jesus Born Away in a Manger at Migdal Eder?

Why were the Shepherds the first people to find out about the birth of Jesus? And what an amazing way they found out about it! Another interesting theory..... from https://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithwalkers/2012/12/was-jesus-born-away-in-a-manger-at-migdal-eder/      Although Jesus was not born on Christmas (as the article hints at, they do admit that special sheep were raised near Bethlehem to be sacrificed at The Temple- as Jesus was)

The three wise men who likely weren’t three and didn’t show up until two years later.  The star hovering just above the quaint wooden structure that looks more like an English countryside barn than the back end of an inn. The all-too-pristine setting after an impromptu birth.

I thought I had heard it all.

I even shared a take on The Christmas Message based on the traditional interpretation just a few days ago. I thought I understood the Christmas story pretty well after nearly four decades of being steeped in Christianity.

Until I heard the theory that Jesus was born away in a manger — but at Migdal Eder and not in a cramped and filthy cave behind a crowded inn.

Migdal What?!

Migdal Eder seems to have been known as the “Tower of the Flock” located not far outside Bethlehem proper. The exact location is unknown though several credible sites have been suggested. Heretical, I know. But bear with me. I think the imagery alone makes it a theory worth considering.

It was Pastor Mark Spansel who offered the theory on the birthplace of Jesus in a recent sermon at our church, although it seems to have been Alfred Edersheim (1899) who gets most of the credit for breathing relatively new life into it. In Chapter 6 of The Life and Times of Jesus Messiah, he allegedly wrote:

And yet Jewish tradition may here prove both illustrative and helpful. That the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, was a settled conviction.

Equally so, was the belief , that He was to be revealed from Migdal Eder, ‘the tower of the flock.’ This Migdal Eder was not the watchtower for the ordinary flocks which pastured on the barren sheepground beyond Bethlehem, but lay close to the town, on the road to Jerusalem.

A passage in the Mishnah leads to the conclusion, that the flocks, which pastured there, were destined for Temple-sacrifices, and, accordingly, that the shepherds, who watched over them, were not ordinary shepherds.

The latter were under the ban of Rabbinism, on account of their necessary isolation from religious ordinances, and their manner of life, which rendered strict legal observance unlikely, if not absolutely impossible.

The same Mishnaic passage also leads us to infer, that these flocks lay out all the year round, since they are spoken of as in the fields thirty days before Passover–that is, in the month of February, when in Palestine [Israel] the average rainfall is nearly greatest.

Thus, Jewish tradition in some dim manner apprehended the first revelation of the Messiah from that Migdal Eder, where shepards watched the Temple-flocks all the year round. Of the deep symbolic significance of such a coincidence, it is needless to speak. [emphasis mine]

Here’s the theory in summary. There was place just outside of Bethlehem city, but still within the region commonly known as Bethlehem, where Passover lambs were kept by specially trained and purified shepherds. The lambs were born in this “tower of the flock” known as Migdal Eder under the watchful eye of the shepherds who would then inspect and either certify them for use as sacrifices in the temple or designate them to be released for common use. The new lambs would, according to some sources, even be wrapped in special swaddling clothes once certified.


Happy Hanukkah - a non-Biblical Holiday that JESUS DID OBSERVE!

By Bob Barney

Thanksgiving is not a biblical holy day, but it is recognized by God as a Holy Day!  The same applies to Hanukkah!  Although the holiday is found in the The Book of Maccabees, which some consider part of the Bible (Catholics) it is not a authorized canonized book in scripture.  That being said, there was a miracle, that was written about in Maccabees, and Jesus must have accepted that truth.

Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that commemorates the purification and rededication of the Temple by Judas Maccabeus on Kislev 25, 165 BC (usually in December). Three years prior, Antiochus IV, the Seleucid (Syrian) king, defiled the Temple by erecting an idol to Baal Shamen (the Canaanite counterpart for the Greek god Zeus), sacrificing a pig on the altar in the Temple and proclaiming himself to be a god. Some of the coins he minted had his features on the face of Zeus along with the words “Theos Epiphanes” meaning “the god manifest.” He also decreed that Torah (the Law of God) could not be studied under penalty of death; also Jewish males were not to be circumcised and it was forbidden to keep the Sabbath. This brought an internal struggle within Judaism out in the open. On the one hand there were the observant Jews who wanted to keep Torah, continue circumcision and observe the Sabbath. On the other hand, there were Hellenized Jews who wanted to assimilate into the Greek culture around them and become “born again” Greeks! That included wrestling in the gymnasium wearing nothing but their “birthday suits”!

Hellenized Jews. They wanted to become “born-again” Greeks, participating in Greek-style wrestling in the gymnasium. (source)

Many Christians do not know that The Lord Jesus observed the celebration of Hanukkah in the Temple during the winter of AD 29 (Jn 10:22–39). Just prior to this account in John 10, the Apostle John gives two “illustrations” (10:6) of Jesus as the Good Shepherd (10:1–5 and 10:7–10) and records Jesus’ interpretation of these parables (10:11–18).  It is the only mention of Hanukkah in the Bible, but one can only accept the idea that Jesus observed it every year, as all of Judah did.

For more on the history of Hanukkah read: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/11/17/Jesus-Celebrates-Hanukkah!.aspx#Article

 


It's no accident children are drawn to Satanism

Halloween is not harmless, and the messages Satan is giving to your children is dangerous

1
But too many Americans are dismissing any Christian walk at all and turning to experimental and sensational “spirituality,” the kind that allows humans to do pretty much whatever they wish. They assume this is the road to happiness.

Of course, believers know it’s the road to destruction.

It’s a Halloween trick on a cosmic scale. As more Americans than ever – including youth – are turning to astrology, trances, witchcraft, paganism and even Satanism, there’s a very real probability that the spiritual door to the occult opened for many people within supposedly Christian congregations with these elements of apostate belief:

  • Worship of “gods” alongside Christ – Allah, Buddha, etc.
  • Praying to female goddesses – Sophia, Kali, Isis – to reflect “equality”
  • Seeking altered consciousness (a trance or meditative state)
  • Praying to the dead or conducting a séance
  • Practicing astrology
  • Deviant sexuality

All these sinful practices open one’s spirit to rebellion where Satan and his demons deceive and entice. As 2 Corinthians 11:14 tell us, “… Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” But it’s a lie leading to hell.

Recent reports point to self-declared Christian “witches” along with a dramatic rise in the number of witchcraft adherents. Christian faith in some circles is never weighed as a serious option.

Witchcraft is being normalized and glamorized to young girls through media like Teen Vogue. This fall, a revived “Sabrina” series is debuting on Netflix, and this time, it’s not a comedy but a gruesome drama with story lines that include Satanism. And “Charmed” is back as well, with a plot that’s a diabolical stew of occult rituals along with feminist politics – and of course, the requisite sexual perversion. One of the characters is a lesbian.


Read more at https://www.wnd.com/2018/10/its-no-accident-children-are-drawn-to-satanism/#8xfqkBvYDdtsIDyQ.99


HALLOWE'EN IS PAGAN!

The Sigil of Baphomet: emblem of the Church of...The Sigil of Baphomet: emblem of the Church of Satan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Garner Ted Armstrong

HALLOWE'EN, commonly spelled without the apostrophe today, is utterly PAGAN! All its symbols and customs stem from ancient heathen mythology. Why should any Christ-centered, Bible-believing person revel in ghoulish death? What place have witches, goblins, demons, skeletons, "Jack o' Lanterns," black cats, and the worship of "Samhain, the Lord of the Dead," in a Christian society? Millions use "Halloween," as it is commonly misspelled today, as an excuse for wild revelry. Little do they know that it is the ghoulish "New Year" for Satanists!

by Garner Ted Armstrong   [printer-friendly]     [pdf format]

Are you a slave to custom? Do you blindly accept whatever "society" imposes upon you, blissfully ignorant of the origin and meaning of commonly observed customs?

Each October, like so many dupes or slaves, hundreds of thousands of shopkeepers and clerks labor to install their usual "Halloween decorations" each October.Each autumn, thousands of markets, drugstores, department stores and millions of houses and lawns become scenes of "jack-o'-lanterns," witches, broomsticks, black cats, leering skeletons, weird, bleeding skulls, knives, daggers, spears and swords, bloody masks, fake spider webs and other symbols of the devil and his demons, and macabre death.

 

 

Continue reading "HALLOWE'EN IS PAGAN! " »


Meaning of the Last Great Day

TODAY is the last day of The Feast of tabernacles. Today is the what is called the LAST GREAT DAY. This eight day of the FEAST symbolizes the time after the millennium, when God the Father moves his throne from heaven to earth... Yes, it is in the Bible!!! try reading the 21st chapter of revelation:

All Things Made New
1Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
 
4And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
 
5Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
 
6And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
 
This will be the fulfillment of today's Holy Day.  The Last Great day when God the Father will live with us ON EARTH!

Today is Pentecost

image from sp.yimg.comReaders of The Plain Truth are aware that the calendars that most Christian and Jewish Observers follow are wrong.  God's calendar is perfect, and the same holidays fall exactly the same time each year. Today is the 50th day since the Feast of First Fruits (The last day of Passover Week).  For Christians, Pentecost is a holiday on which we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the early followers of Jesus. Before the events of the first Pentecost, which came a few weeks after Jesus’ death and resurrection, there were followers of Jesus, but no movement that could be meaningfully called “the church.”

Thus, from an historical point of view, Pentecost is the day on which the church was started. This is also true from a spiritual perspective, since the Spirit brings the church into existence and enlivens it. Thus Pentecost is the church’s birthday.

Pentecost is actually the Christian version of  the old Greek and Latin name for the Jewish Festival of Weeks (Hebrew חג השבועות Chag ha-Shavuot) which can be found in the Hebrew Bible. It is called by that name in Exodus 34:22 and Deuteronomy 16:10. It is also called the Festival of Reaping (Hebrew: חג הקציר, Chag ha-Katsir) in Exodus 23:16, and Day of the First Fruits (Hebrew יום הביכורים, Yom ha-Bikkurim) in Numbers 28:26.  Jews traditionally read the Book of Ruth at Pentecost, as the story links with the grain harvest theme of the festival.

The biblical narrative of Pentecost is given in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. Present were about one hundred and twenty followers of Christ (Acts 1:15), including the Twelve Apostles (i.e. the Eleven faithful disciples and Matthias who was Judas' replacement) (Acts 1:13, 26), his mother Mary, various other women disciples and his brothers (Acts 1:14).

Their reception of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room is recounted in Acts 2:1–6:

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language."

Jewish Christianity in Jerusalem.

Many scholars see strong evidence of a connection between the Essenes and the early Christian Church.  Pharisees and Sadducees are frequently referred to in the Gospels, but the Essenes are not so easily recognized. One has to look closely to see that they are referred to as "devout men" and appear several times. The aged Simeon in the temple is called a devout man. Acts 2:5 mentions that "there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven." Acts 8:2 tells that "Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation." It was an assembly of "devout" men who recognized the fact that Peter had a message of the Lord. "But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city" (Acts.13.50). Ananias in Antioch was a devout man (Acts 22:12).

The New Testament Church is a special "calling out 'First Fruits' Assembly"

     I know many will not like this, but unless you are invited by God, being a member of His Church, you can not join!  Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44). The night before Jesus was crucified, He told the Father-God in his prayer, "I have revealed Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world" (John 17:6). Some years later, the Apostle Paul wrote to Church members in Corinth,  Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful." (1 Corinthians 1:26–27). James identified those who are called into the Church as the "firstfruits" in the plan of God (James 1:18).

    As harsh and shocking as it may sound, Jesus IS NOT trying to save the world today. He is not trying to save most of your friends, neighbors and maybe not even you!  This is what Jesus told his disciples, when they asked him about this subject: 

MATTHEW 13:10-16.    His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”

11He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secretsa of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.  That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see.

They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,

‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand.

When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would have to heal them.’

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.  I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it."

Clearly, this is not the Jesus taught to you in Sunday school.  Read what he said about. In simple English he is saying because of the people's sin (breaking the Law) he does not want them to turn to him, because he does not want to now!

God's Church is small, scattered and mostly going to be persecuted and rejected.  You can't join, but you can figure out if you have been called by The Father! 

HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE IN GOD's TRUE CHURCH!

 


The Miracle of Pentecost

Tomorrow is Pentecost, one of three of the required special Sabbaths in the Bible... Each of these three festivals are a week long!  God actually intended his people to have 52 Sabbath's off a year, 3 weeks of vacation, plus a few others!   NICE BOSS!

 

"Astounding!" "Dumbfounding!" "What is the meaning of this?" "What is happening?" These were the startled expressions coming from the mouths of a crowd of several thousand on the Day of Pentecost nearly two thousand years ago. Those who uttered these words of astonishment were mostly Jews and proselytes, with a sprinkling of Romans and other gentiles among them, who were gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks, or the fiftieth day following the offering of the wave sheaf. All knew it was the "Feast of the Firstfruits," and that it was celebrated "on the morrow after the seventh Sabbath" following the wave sheaf ceremony. But none had the slightest inkling of what was to happen on this momentous day. They were shocked, startled, puzzled! Then, by the thousands, they tearfully crowded around Christ's apostles, asking to be baptized! They repented in droves at the inspired preaching of the apostles, who wore flickering, brilliant crowns of flame! Read, in your own Bible, of the miracles that took place on the first Pentecost after Christ's resurrection––of the miracle of Pentecost!

by Garner Ted Armstrong  [printer-friendly]     [pdf format]

  image from sp.yimg.com     A swarthy trader from Egypt, who was half Jewish, began speaking in a sardonic whisper to the Arabian standing next to him. "They have got to be drunk with new wine!" he said.
      The Arabian watched as the trader made a circling motion around his head with his index finger and rolled his eyes derisively. He didn't understand a word the Egyptian–Jew had said, but he got the message.
      A Phrygian camel driver laughed, gestured toward the disciples who were in full view, and said, "I'd like to know how they do it--I mean, how is it that they manage to have all those flames flickering around their heads, and not a hair singed?"
      Neither of the other men understood the Phrygian, until a Levite from Media, who was skilled in all three languages, translated for each of them.
      "They can't be drunk, seeing it's only about 9:00 in the morning, and there isn't a wineshop open in the city--but tell me this, how is it that each of you are understanding what these men have been saying, when they are speaking in my language?"
      The Egyptian looked startled, and the Arabian's mouth dropped open. The Phrygian camel driver laughed, "Oh, no. Impossible! They, every one of them, have been speaking in my tongue--which is surprising, for not many in Jerusalem know the dialect of Phrygia!"
      The word had spread like wildfire throughout the city: "A miracle! A miracle! Some of the followers of that man Jesus, who claimed to be the Messiah, are standing there with their hair on fire, and speaking in about sixteen different languages and all of us are hearing them in our own dialect!"
      When the excited babble of voices came to Peter, after most of the other disciples had addressed the crowd, Peter stood up, gestured for silence. His hair was blazing; flickering tongues of flame were leaping over his head like a golden corona; yet, there was no damage to his head or hair!
      "Men of Judaea, and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let this be understood! Listen to my words! These men are not drunken, like you think they are, seeing it is only the third hour of the day.
      "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.'"
      The Phrygian nudged the Arabian, who looked at the Median Levite. "Did you understand that?" The Phrygian asked no one in particular. The linguist from Media rapidly asked each the same question, and all nodded vigorously, their eyes wide with wonderment.
      "Something is going on here--something I can't explain!" the Levite said to them. "We'd better listen!"
      Can any of us truly imagine what it must have been like for the large crowd of people from all over the Mediterranean world to have been assembled in Jerusalem on that momentous day? Can we picture, for even a moment, the astonishing sight, the astounding words that were spoken, or the excitement and wonderment that swept over the audience?
      One of the most stupendous miracles of all time was taking place before their astonished eyes, and filling their ears. It was the miracle of Pentecost, when God's Holy Spirit was first made available to the human race; when the "other Comforter" Jesus Christ promised (John 14:26) was sent to mankind.

Why Did It Happen On Pentecost?   Read the rest here


Tonight is the SECOND Passover - What is that?

Last month, many Christians kept the Passover, as God ordained, and the early church observed.  However, do you know that for a select few, their Passover was a month later?  Read it for yourselves:

Second passover

Numbers 9 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Second Passover

A year after Israel’s departure from Egypt, the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai. In the first month[a] of that year he said, Tell the Israelites to celebrate the Passover at the prescribed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month.[b] Be sure to follow all my decrees and regulations concerning this celebration.”

So Moses told the people to celebrate the Passover in the wilderness of Sinai as twilight fell on the fourteenth day of the month. And they celebrated the festival there, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. But some of the men had been ceremonially defiled by touching a dead body, so they could not celebrate the Passover that day. They came to Moses and Aaron that day and said, “We have become ceremonially unclean by touching a dead body. But why should we be prevented from presenting the Lord’s offering at the proper time with the rest of the Israelites?”

Moses answered, “Wait here until I have received instructions for you from the Lord.”

This was the Lord’s reply to Moses. 10 Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people now or in future generations are ceremonially unclean at Passover time because of touching a dead body, or if they are on a journey and cannot be present at the ceremony, they may still celebrate the Lord’s Passover. 11 They must offer the Passover sacrifice one month later, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the second month.[c] They must eat the Passover lamb at that time with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. 12 They must not leave any of the lamb until the next morning, and they must not break any of its bones. They must follow all the normal regulations concerning the Passover.

13 But those who neglect to celebrate the Passover at the regular time, even though they are ceremonially clean and not away on a trip, will be cut off from the community of Israel. If they fail to present the Lord’s offering at the proper time, they will suffer the consequences of their guilt. 14 And if foreigners living among you want to celebrate the Passover to the Lord, they must follow these same decrees and regulations. The same laws apply both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you.

Very few in the Church even mention this Passover, yet I believe the significance the the second month Passover has even more meaning for Christians, than it did to the Hebrews!   Most Christians are unclean!  Sorry, but that's true. Do you eat pork, shellfish, catfish?  If so, you are unclean.  Do you follow Sunday instead of the Sabbath Day, then you are unclean to God.  The truth is, that the majority of believers are more unclean before God today, then in the days of Moses.

Tonight's second month Passover, is a symbol to those Christians that are unfit to eat the Passover, but the gift of Christ's sacrifice has paved the way to your salvation.... You see as Paul says, "God saved us when we were still sinners."  

Although most don't observe this Passover (which we are tonight), know that God made a plan long ago to save the modern Christian that has bee trapped by paganism.