Pentecost 2017: Church of the Firstborn

Pentecost (or Shavuot, the “Feast of Weeks) is coming on May 30–June 1, 2017. Note: The Jewish calendar date begins at sundown of the night beforehand. Thus all holiday observances begin at sundown on the secular dates listed, with the following day being the first full day of the holiday. Jewish calendar dates conclude at nightfall.

This Holiday has a special meaning to Christians and Jews…

The Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians, and around 1,400 B. C. God used a man named Moses to deliver them from their slavery. After leaving Egypt, the Israelites wandered through the wilderness on their way to a good land, which God wanted them to live in. While they were in the wilderness, God gave Moses the law, which Moses taught the Israelites to obey. The 10 Commandments were given at Mt. Sinai, a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. This law provided the infrastructure for their society, for generations to come, and still impacts us today.

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Every year on the holiday of Shavuot the Jewish people renew their acceptance of God’s gift, and God “re-gives” the Torah. The word Shavuot means “weeks.” It marks the completion of the seven-week counting period between Passover and Shavuot.

The giving of the Law (or Torah) was a far-reaching spiritual event, compared to a wedding between God and the Jewish people. Shavuot also means “oaths,” for on this day God swore eternal devotion to the Jewish people, and they in turn pledged everlasting loyalty to Him.

shavuot-bread

Two wheat loaves would be offered at the Holy Temple, and the Jewish people would begin to bring their first fruits, to thank God for Israel’s bounty.

Just as Passover celebrates physical freedom of the Israelite’s redemption from bondage in Egypt, Shavuot celebrates spiritual liberation through their experience of God’s presence and revelation at Sinai. In the Passover exodus, God brought a people out from among the nations.

At Sinai on that first Shavuot and later at Pentecost, God created a nation set apart for Himself. He revealed Himself and how to live as a redeemed community, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:6).

mt-moreb-2

As the Jewish people celebrate this feast year after year, they recount the awesome events that took place at the foot of Mt. Sinai. It is what defines them as a people. Therefore it was not by chance that God chose Shavuot, called Pentecost among Christians, for this miraculous event took place exactly seven weeks following Jesus’s last Passover. This was a time when Jerusalem would have been filled with Jews from all the surrounding lands who had come with great anticipation to “meet with the Lord”—the meaning of the “appointed times” listed in Leviticus 23—Jewish people of that time had a keen sense of this.

The first followers of Jesus must have had a greater sense of expectation as they were told by the Lord Himself that, “in a few days you will be immersed in the Holy Spirit!” (see Acts 1:5) before He was taken up before their eyes.

Acts 2 records that approximately 120 followers of Jesus were gathered in Jerusalem for the Shavuot celebration when “suddenly there came a sound from the sky like the roar of a violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire, which separated and came to rest on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:1-4).

pentecost-dove02

No longer would man walk by commandments on tablets of stone, but by the Holy Spirit, who would write the law on hearts of flesh and give power to overcome the powers of darkness…the law of sin and death…while empowering us to become witnesses to the ends of the earth! The “church” had been born.

Just as the nation of Israel had been created in the wilderness of Sinai to reveal the one true God to the world, now the doors had opened to the nations to come and know and worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Whereas God once dwelt in the Temple fashioned of bricks and mortar, by His Spirit, He now dwells in vessels of clay.

Whereas men once went up to Jerusalem to enjoy God’s presence, His presence now remains with us as we travel the earth taking His wonderful message—this Good News of the Messiah of Israel to the Jewish People and to the nations.

sinai-zion

 

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”

mt_sinai

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

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See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:18-29)

holy-city-of-new-jerusalem

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2 thoughts on “Pentecost 2017: Church of the Firstborn

  1. The Feast of Shavuot / Pentecost

    For brevity sake, I am simply going to list all of the clues I have “discovered” so far supporting this yet unproven theory and let you decide for yourself.

    Note: The day of the rapture will not and cannot be proven – until the day of the actual rapture!

    1) THE TWO LOAVES OF LEAVENED BREAD

    Shavuot is the fourth and central feast among the Feasts of Yahweh. I.e. Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles. The first three feasts of Yahweh are in the spring and were the exact appointed times of Yahoshua’s death, burial and resurrection – whereas the final three feast are celebrated in the fall and represent resurrection, personal judgment, the judgment of the nations, the wedding feast and the establishing of the Millennial Kingdom.

    Right at the heart of all this – is Shavuot (Pentecost)! In the Scriptures – on this very day – two loaves of leavened (a representation of sin) bread are to be lifted up and waved before Yahweh by the High Priest of Yisrael.

    Could this be a living picture of Yahoshua haMashiach our High Priest lifting up His Bride at the rapture? After all, the bread is representative of the ONE NEW MAN (Jew and Gentile) who are now one in the Messiah Yahoshua! His elect Bride by favour through faith – is not yet unleavened (i.e. without sin), yet He still lifts us up as His Beloved Bride as a first fruit offering unto Yahweh at the rapture!

    DECORATING THE BRIDEThe Jewish people celebrate the feast of Shavuot annually with a tradition they call “decorating the bride.” Are we not the bride of Yahoshua? At the rapture – won’t we be decorated with our new clothing?
    ENOCH
    It is a deeply held tradition in Judaism that Enoch was born and was taken (i.e. raptured) by Yahweh on the very day of Shavuot. Enoch was the first man raptured in the Scriptures. He walked and talked with Yahweh and then Yahweh took him. Enoch is a perfect representation of the Bride of Messiah. We walk with Yahweh and talk with Him and one day we too will be taken. The Bride was born (again) on Shavuot (Acts 2) just like Enoch – so why should it surprise us if we are also taken on Shavuot?

    Yahweh declares the end from the beginning! He said so seven times through the prophet Isaiah!

    Prayerfully consider… In the book of Bereshith (Genesis) there were three distinct groups of people mentioned in the flood account – Enoch, Noah and his family and those outside the ark! Is it possible that Enoch represents the Bride of Messiah while Noah and his family represent those who will go through fiery tribulation(s) and only believe on Yahoshua and be saved at His coming? When He returns to judge all the earth with a flood of fire?

    THE FIRST CENTURY BELIEVERS THOUGHT THE RAPTURE WOULD HAPPEN AT SHAVUOTThe early assemblies thought Yahoshua would most likely rapture His Bride at Shavuot (Pentecost). The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible offers the following comment:
    “The Church Fathers highly regarded Pentecost. Easter was always on Sunday, so Pentecost was also. Between Easter and Pentecost, there was to be no fasting. Praying was done standing, rather than kneeling. During this time, catechumens [new converts] were baptized. Many expected, because the Ascension had taken place near Pentecost, that Christ would return in the same season.”

    Pentecost was a time of expectation for the early Church. They felt that Christ might come for His own during this period. Why did they believe this? Was it because of its closeness to the time of the Ascension, or was it because of something else they had been taught? Remember, Christ’s actual Ascension took place forty days after His resurrection. Ten days later, the Holy Spirit empowered the church for its future role in the harvest of souls … the fifty days till Pentecost.”

    THE ANCIENT HEBREW WEDDING CUSTOM
    As I have already mentioned – it is the Hebrew wedding custom for the bride groom to return on the anniversary of his betrothal. If he was unexpectedly delayed – then he would return at the second anniversary. The most important thing to remember is that Yahoshua has been fulfilling every part of the nine ancient Hebrew wedding customs and one of those customs is to return on the exact anniversary of the betrothal!

    Note: I love to teach on the ancient Hebrew wedding customs. Here is a link if you are interested in finding out more about this very exciting aspect of our Heavenly Groom’s plan of salvation for His Bride.

    ANCIENT HEBREW WEDDING PICTURES REVEALED IN YAHWEH’S PLAN OF SALVATION

    THE SHADOW PICTURES FROM THE FIRST SHAVUOT
    There are many striking parallels between the account given of events that transpired at the first Shavuot and the coming rapture of the saints. The first Shavuot (Exodus 19:10-25) is an amazing shadow picture of the good things that are still yet to come (1Thes. 4:16-19) & (Hebrews 10:1).

    a) Yahweh told Moses to consecrate His people for two days so they would be prepared to come up to meet Him on the top of the mountain at the sound of the loud voice and the sound of the trumpet of Elohim (God).

    Yahoshua (Jesus) was told to consecrate Yahweh’s people (for two thousand years) so they would be prepared to go up to meet Him in the air at the sound of the loud voice and the sound of the trumpet of Elohim (God).

    Note: There is a teaching in Judaism that when Yahweh provided the ram for Abraham – He saved the two horns to be used as shofars one day. He then blew the first trump (Exodus 19) at the giving of Torah (the law) and He will blow the last trump (1Thes. 4:16) at the rapture of the Bride.

    b) The trumpet of Elohim (God) and a very loud voice was heard at Mt. Sinai.

    The trumpet of Elohim (God) and a very loud voice will be heard at the rapture of the saints.

    c) A new kingdom was established at Mt. Sinai.

    A new kingdom will be established at the rapture.

    d) The Israelites were redeemed from slavery at Mt. Sinai.

    The redeemed saints will soon be redeemed from our earthly bodies at the rapture.

    e) The children of Israel were consecrated at Mt. Sinai.

    We will be perfected at the rapture.

    f) They washed their clothes in order to prepare to meet Yahweh.

    We will be given clothes that are clean and without wrinkle – which have been prepared for us by the Groom at His coming.

    g) Elohim (God) descended onto the top of Mt. Sinai.

    Yahoshua (Jesus) will descend to meet His Bride in the air.

    h) Moses and Aaron ascended up Mt. Sinai.

    The Bride will ascend at the rapture.

    i) Israel was wed to Yahweh at Mt. Sinai.

    Yahoshua (Jesus) will wed His bride at the rapture.

    j) At Mt. Sinai Elohim (God) dwelt with Israel.

    At the rapture – the Bride will forever dwell with Yahoshua (Jesus).

    Since shadow pictures are incomplete in detail – there are naturally some glaring differences between the two events.

    a) Only Moses and Aaron could ascend Mount Sinai. If anyone else attempted to go up they would pass from life to death.

    At the rapture – the entire Bridal company will go up and all will pass from death to life.

    b) Yahweh promised to dwell with Israel forever – if they obeyed His commands.

    We will dwell with Yahoshua forever because He obeyed His Father perfectly on our behalf.

    c) The Israelites only changed temporarily.

    We will be changed permanently.

    d) Great fear gripped the hearts of all who witnessed the first Shavuot (Pentecost).

    Great joy will overwhelm the heart of the Bride at the rapture.

    e) His great Torah was made manifest at Mt. Sinai.

    At the Rapture the manifestation of His great favour will be known to all.

    7) THE JUDGMENT OF THE TREES

    On Shavuot (Pentecost), Jewish families will traditionally wear bright and festive clothing. Homes are sometimes decorated with green plants and an abundance of succulent foods are prepared for the celebration.

    Hayyim Schauss writes in “The Jewish Festivals” – “The custom of decorating the homes and synagogues with green plants is variously explained. One theory is that the day is marked in heaven as the day of judgment for the fruit of the trees.”

    I found this to be very interesting because at the rapture all the good bearing fruit trees will be raptured and separated from all the trees that bare rotten fruit. All of humanity are represented by trees – all throughout the Scriptures. (Matthew 12:33 & 7:15-20)

    8) OBSERVANT JUDAISM STAYS UP ALL NIGHT ON SHAVUOT

    “A kabbalistic custom emanating from the mystics in Safed (sixteenth century) is to stay up the whole (first) night of Shavuot studying Torah. The tikkun – a set order of study – was composed of selections from the Bible, rabbinic literature, and even mystical literature such as the Zohar. In this fashion the kabbalists prepared for the momentous revelation of the following morning.”

    “This practice of staying up all night is in stark contrast to that of the Israelites at Sinai, who according to tradition slept late that morning and had to be awakened by Moses. In atonement for this, Jews nowadays stay awake all night. The sense of preparation for Sinai is heightened by a mystical tradition holding that the skies open up during this night for a brief instant. At that very moment, we are told, God will favorably answer any prayer. The kabbalists also regard Pentecost as the wedding of God and Israel. Therefore, we stay up all night to “decorate the bride.”

    What an incredible picture of the rapture! The opening of the heavens “for a brief instant” corresponds with the message recorded in 1Corinthians 15:51.

    “… We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye …”

    Here is the perfect picture of Messiah Yahoshua (Jesus) coming to catch away His bride! And where does He take her? – to the wedding chamber He has prepared for her (John14:2-3)! This corresponds perfectly with Shavuot (Pentecost), when the Jews would “stay up all night to decorate the bride,” then celebrate with great joy all the next day.

    “If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” ~ Revelation 3:3

    9) THE BOOK OF RUTH IS READ EVERY SHAVUOT (PENTECOST)

    Observant Judaism studies the book of Ruth every Shavuot – as it is one of the Torah portions they read over during the two days of celebration.

    The book of Ruth tells of a gentile bride who leaves everything of her world behind and then goes on to marry a devout, merciful and just Hebrew Groom – a kinsmen redeemer by the name of Boaz – who redeems her at the feast of Shavuot! The multitude of shadow pictures in this four-chapter account overwhelmingly point to Yahoshua and His Elect Bride of favour.

    The shadow pictures are so numerous and wonderful throughout the book of Ruth – I will simply have a to write a study committed solely to examining them in detail.

    10) YAHOSHUA WILL BE COMING WITH THE TRUMP OF YAHWEH

    On the feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah / Rosh Hashanah) the shofar is traditionally blown 100 times by a man. Only on the day of Shavuot (Pentecost) at Mt. Sinai – is it recorded that the trump of Yahweh was sounded anywhere in the Bible! This was the first time the trump of Yahweh was sounded. At the rapture – will be the second and final time the trump of Yahweh sounds. Everywhere else in Scripture the shofar(s) or trumpet(s) are always sounded by men and by angels – not Yahweh!

    CONCLUSION – It is usually healthy to consider a different perspective than our own – no matter how dearly held our opinion or belief. Because of this study – I have come to realize that my belief for the coming rapture occurring on the Feast of the Trumpets was supported by only a couple of very well-founded arguments. While the argument that has been given me for the rapture happening on Shavuot is very well thought out, well founded and substantial. I hope that you will prayerfully consider what I have written and I would appreciate any and all criticism! Shalom, shalom!

    In Sincerity and truth, His servant and yours,
    Robert-Arthur: McDuffie ~ Gal. 6:14

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  2. loved your stuff on 2017 its the best presentation I have seen up to date God bless
    I personally don’t think Russia is involved as part of the Gog confederacy but will join with UN attack against them and after that when the world leader is possessed by the Satan he will lead the UN against Israel as the Lord comes and saves ALL His people
    great work

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