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Israel's second feast day is today called Pentecost. It was originally known as the Feast of Weeks or the Feast of Harvest. But in the three centuries prior to Jesus' birth, after Alexander the Great conquered that part of the world, Greek became the primary language of business and culture. So the Feast of Weeks became known by its Greek name, Pentecost, or “fiftieth day.”
Even as Passover celebrated the day Israel left Egypt, so also Pentecost celebrated the day that God came down upon Mount Horeb and gave them the Ten Commandments. God's intention was to write the law upon their hearts through the spoken word. But the people drew back and refused to hear the rest of the law (Ex. 20:18-21), and so Moses had to give them the law written on tables of stone.
Seven weeks after Jesus' resurrection, the Holy Spirit was given to the Church as recorded in the second chapter of Acts:
1 And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place, 2 and suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together and were bewildered, because they were each one hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and marveled, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes, and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs--we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” 12 And they continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”
Yes, what does this mean? At the first Pentecost under Moses, there was present a great mixed multitude (Ex. 12:38) from many nations. But when the voice of God was heard from the mount, they all no doubt heard the Ten Commandments in their own language. God came to earth to bring heaven down to us. But in Moses' time, the people refused to hear more (Ex. 20:18-21). And so the divine law was not written on their hearts, but was given to them later in an external form—the tables of stone (Ex. 34:29).
Laws written on stone, wood, or any media other than on one’s heart must be imposed on men from the outside and therefore cannot make any man righteous. There is a saying that government cannot legislate morality. That is a partial truth. Laws can regulate behavior, because men are made to fear the consequences of violating the law. But laws cannot change the human heart. The true condition of a man’s heart is seen when those external laws are removed. If the moral laws are not written on his heart, he will soon resort to lawless behavior when the laws are removed.
The true righteousness of a man is evident only when there is no external law to fear. If the law is written on a man's heart, he will do what is right because it is part of his nature to do what is good and is not harmful to others. Such a man wants to do what is right toward his neighbors, whether the government prohibits it or not. If the law is not written on his heart, he will violate God’s law whenever he disagrees with it or whenever he finds himself too weak to resist the temptation to sin.
The real purpose of Pentecost is to write the law in one's heart. This is possible only by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God must indwell man. The Spirit of God must come into the spirit of man and BECOME ONE WITH the spirit in man.
This is how the divine law is written in the heart of man. The Holy Spirit begins to work within man to write the divine law in his heart so that it becomes part of his nature. Then there is no need for an external law to tell him what to do, for he will know the law and will do it by instinct—regardless of man’s legislation.
The purpose of Pentecost, then, is to transform a person from DOING righteous deeds to BEING righteous.
Even as the Passover makes a person a Christian, so also Pentecost ought to define the Christian’s daily life of obedience. The Christian is "born" at Passover, but he matures through Pentecost as he is led by the Spirit of God.
Thus, it is unfortunate that many Christians today have rejected Pentecost, saying that it was relevant only for the disciples in the first century. The rejection of Pentecost has led to many distortions among those who call themselves Christians. It has allowed ambitious but talented orators and fund raisers to become leaders of the Church, even though they were spiritually immature. In fact, as time passed, many of these leaders had not even experienced Passover (that is, justification by faith in the Lamb of God).
As the centuries passed, Christian leaders often persecuted the righteous ones among them, because they dared to speak out against the immoral behavior of the popes.
And then came the Crusades, which were designed to take back the "holy sites" and shrines in the "Holy Land." They did not know that God had already given that land to the children of Hagar after the Jews rejected the New Covenant. I mentioned this in my booklet, The Debt Note in Prophecy. When the Jews decided to remain under the authority of the Old Covenant (Mount Sinai, or Horeb), they put Jerusalem under the authority of Mount Sinai in Arabia—which is the inheritance of Hagar and Ishmael (Gal. 4:25). Thus, God gave the land and the city to Ishmael, and neither the Jews nor the Christians had any valid claim to it.
Within a few centuries after Christ, it became evident that the Church (represented by the leadership) had rejected Pentecost even as Israel had rejected it in the days of Moses. In other words, they refused to hear His voice and have the law written on their hearts. They had accepted Jesus as the Lamb of God (Passover), but they failed in the area of Pentecost. Instead of submitting to the law of God, they thought that God would submit to their decrees and rubber-stamp all their actions.
In their arrogance, both political and religious leaders thought that because they were now the "chosen" ones, they could do as they pleased, and that God would always back them regardless of their corruption and oppressive ways. Their authority to do as they pleased was based upon the idea of "apostolic succession," ignoring the fact that Israel's Levitical priests had already tried that argument—and failed to prevent God's judgment.
The Levitical priesthood in the Old Testament was based upon one’s genealogy from Aaron, Moses’ brother. They thought that as long as they could prove their genealogy, they could never be replaced. They did not realize that God had already established a Melchizedek Order of priests who would ultimately replace the Aaronic Order. God told King David in Psalm 110:4,
4 The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, Thou art a priest forever according to the Order of Melchizedek.
This new Order was not based upon genealogy (Heb. 7:1-11), for David was of the tribe of Judah, rather than of Levi. David could not be a priest after the Levitical Order, but yet he acted as a priest in David’s Tabernacle when the Ark of the Covenant was set up on his own property prior to Solomon’s temple. Likewise, David ate the bread from the Table of Showbread (1 Sam. 21:6), which was not lawful for anyone to eat other than the priests. But David ate of it and did not sin, because he was a priest, though of a different Order.
Hebrews 7 makes it clear that the Order of Melchizedek replaced the Order of Aaron as executors of God’s will—i.e., His “last will and testament.” The priests were responsible to carry out the provisions of His will after Jesus’ death (Heb. 9:16-18). But because the Aaronic priests were involved in the plot to kill Him, they were disinherited in favor of a new executor of the will. These new executors are the Melchizedek Order of priests—based upon one’s character and being in agreement with Jesus Christ.
In the Pentecostal Age, the Church became as corrupted as the Aaronic priesthood had been. A corrupt priest is NOT of the Order of Melchizedek, regardless of how the man views himself. The Roman Church did not set up a hereditary monarchy, but they instituted what they called “apostolic succession.”
For all practical purposes, it was the same as a hereditary monarchy. Though it claimed to be based upon merit and Christian character, it was almost never so. The Papacy was bought and sold even as in the worst days of the Aaronic priesthood. They thought that once they achieved the office of Pope, they could rule by their own carnal desires and for personal gain. In the face of corruption, “apostolic succession” has no merit in the eyes of God. When the time comes to enter the Tabernacles Age and its coming Kingdom, such priests will again find themselves deposed and replaced by the overcomers who manifest the character of Jesus Christ.
While calling itself the New Testament Church, it has fallen short, because its anointing of Pentecost was leavened. Leaven is yeast, which is a symbol of sin. Jesus said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matt. 16:6). The law did not allow the priests to use leaven in any of the sacrifices, because the sacrifices were supposed to symbolize Jesus, the sinless One.
But strangely enough, God mandated that leaven be put into the Pentecostal offering in Lev. 23:17,
17 You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the Lord.
This prophesied that the Pentecostal Age would be leavened—that is, it would be full of sin. It would not be sufficient to bring the righteousness of God to the world. It would not be able to establish the Kingdom of God in the earth, except as a very imperfect pattern. In effect, they would follow the pattern of King Saul and his kingdom, rather than follow the pattern of King David and his Kingdom.
King Saul was crowned on the day of wheat harvest (1 Sam. 12:17) and was a prophetic pattern of the Church under Pentecost. Even as Saul reigned in rebellion against God for most of his 40 years as king, so also the leavened Church “reigned” for 40 Jubilees. The 40 Jubilees (40 x 49) of the Pentecostal Age ended in 1993. At that point, God began to transfer His authority to the overcomers who had caught the vision of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Most important is the fact that Pentecost, with its earnest of the Spirit, was insufficient to manifest the Sons of God. That event awaits the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, wherein the fullness of the Spirit will be given to those of the Melchizedek Order who will rule in the Kingdom that is to come.