The Day of Pentecost was a momentous occasion in the history of the Israelites. On this day, Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments from God, which marked the establishment of the Mosaic Law as the foundation of the Israelite nation. It was a day of great revelation and encounter with the divine, as God descended upon the mountain in a cloud and spoke audibly to Moses.
But the Day of Pentecost also foreshadowed a greater event that was to come, one that would surpass the revelations of the Mosaic Law and usher in a new era of grace and redemption. This event was the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, which occurred on the same day of Pentecost but many years later.
In contrast to Moses' ascent up Mount Sinai, the Church would ascend to Mount Zion, which represents the spiritual realm where heaven meets earth. This ascent would not be physical but spiritual, as believers would be lifted up into the heavenly realm through their union with Christ.
The writer of Hebrews speaks of this ascent in Hebrews 12:22-24, saying, "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."
This passage describes the spiritual reality that believers in Christ have access to, a reality that far surpasses the revelations of the Mosaic Law. Through faith in Christ, believers are brought into the heavenly realm where they can experience the presence of God and the fellowship of the saints.
In Ephesians 2:6-7, Paul also speaks of this ascent, saying, "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."
This passage emphasizes that our ascent to the heavenly realm is not something we earn through our own efforts but is a gift of grace given to us through our union with Christ. Through his death and resurrection, Christ has made a way for us to be brought into the very presence of God, and we now have access to all the blessings of heaven not only in a spiritual sense, but in a physical reality that is waiting for us at our resurrection.
In conclusion, the Day of Pentecost was a significant event in the history of the Israelites, marking the establishment of the Mosaic Law as the foundation of their nation. But this event also foreshadowed a greater event that was to come, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, which would lift believers up into the heavenly realm where heaven meets earth at THE MOUNT. Through faith in Christ, believers have access to the heavenly realm and can experience the presence of God and the fellowship of the saints.
GOD HAS PROMISED US 3 GIFTS AT THE MOUNT
At the Mount Sinai, as we have previously discussed, God gave the Israelites the Law through Moses. This Law was a gift from God that served as the foundation of the Israelite nation and provided guidance for their daily lives. The Law, while good and holy, ultimately revealed the shortcomings and inability of humanity to perfectly follow God's commands.
However, at Pentecost, which occurred many years later, God gave a new gift to His people: the Holy Spirit. This gift was not a set of laws or commandments, but a living presence that would dwell within believers, empowering them to live holy and righteous lives. The Holy Spirit would transform hearts and minds, providing guidance, comfort, and strength in times of need.
In John 14:16-17, Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit, saying, "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."
The Holy Spirit is a precious gift from God, and through His power, we are transformed into the image of Christ and enabled to fulfill God's purposes in our lives.
However, there is yet another gift that God has promised to give us at some point in the future: Himself. This gift will be given to us at Jesus' second coming, where we will be fully united with Him in body, soul, and spirit.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, Paul describes this event, saying, "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."
This is the ultimate gift that God has promised us, to be fully united with Him for all eternity. In Revelation 21:3-4, we see a glimpse of this future reality, where John writes, "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'"
In conclusion, at Mount Sinai, God gave the Israelites the Law, which served as a foundation for their nation. At Pentecost, God gave us the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to live holy and righteous lives. And at Jesus' second coming, God has promised to give us Himself, to fully unite us with Him for all eternity. Just as the Law, the Spirit, and Jesus Himself are gifts that God has given to us, the three resurrections we will discuss in further detail below, can also be seen as gifts that we give back to God. Through these resurrections, we are demonstrating our faith and trust in God's promises and our desire to honor Him with our lives. We are also offering ourselves to Him, fully surrendered and ready to serve Him in His kingdom. In this way, the three resurrections can be seen as a symbolic way of returning God's gifts to Him, as a way of expressing our gratitude and devotion to Him. It is a way of saying, "Lord, we thank you for the gift of salvation, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of your return. We offer ourselves to you as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to you. May your will be done in our lives, and may we bring glory to your name."
THE PROPHETIC FULFILLMENT OF PENTECOST AT "THE RAPTURE"
John the Baptist was a prophet sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus Christ, the Messiah and was a witness to Jesus. He preached a message of repentance, calling people to turn away from their sins and prepare their hearts for the coming of the Lord. One of the key aspects of John's ministry was baptism, which he used as a symbol of repentance and cleansing.
In Matthew 3:7-10, we see John rebuking the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to him while he was baptizing, saying, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
Here, John is warning the people that there is a coming wrath, which as John indicates is connected with this day of baptism, and that they need to repent and produce fruit in keeping with their repentance to escape it. This wrath is likely referring to the judgment that will come upon the earth during the tribulation period, as described in the book of Revelation.
Many scholars and theologians believe that the rapture of the Church will occur before the tribulation period begins. The rapture is the event in which Jesus will gather His Church, both the living and the dead, to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). This event will fulfill the promise of us being with himself forevermore as aforementioned.
It is possible that the Day of Pentecost, which marks the marriage of God to the nation of Israel and the coming of the Holy Spirit as a deposit guarantee, could also serve as a foreshadowing of the rapture and the marriage of Jesus to his beloved, the church. Furthermore, the idea of escaping the coming wrath is consistent with the concept of the rapture, as believers will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before the tribulation period begins. This event will serve as a means of escape from the judgment and wrath that will come upon the earth.
IS THERE OTHER EVIDENCE FOR A RAPTURE AT PENTECOST?
In the Bible, the harvest is often used as a metaphor for the resurrection of the dead. This imagery is particularly evident in the New Testament, where the harvest is associated with the return of Christ and the resurrection of the dead.
The Apostle Paul describes this sequence of resurrections in 1 Corinthians 15, where he says that Christ was the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep, and that after Him, there will be those who belong to Christ at His coming. This sequence is often referred to as the "order of the resurrections."
The barley harvest is traditionally seen as the first of the three harvests, and is associated with the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which included the saints who had died prior to Jesus' atoning work on the cross. This harvest is mentioned in Leviticus 23:10-11, where it is commanded that the firstfruits of the barley harvest be brought to the Lord as an offering, which is "waved" before him.
The second harvest is often associated with the wheat harvest, and is attributed to the resurrection of the saints at the time of Christ's return in the air. This event is commonly referred to as the "rapture," and is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, where Paul says that the dead in Christ will rise first, and then those who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
In Leviticus 23:15-17, the Lord commanded the Israelites to bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of the wheat harvest to the priest, who would also "wave" it before the Lord as a sign of dedication and thanksgiving. This offering was to be made on the day after the seventh Sabbath that followed the Passover, which is the same day known as the Day of Pentecost.
The third harvest is associated with the fruit harvest, which takes place during the fall season. This harvest is often attributed to the resurrection of the saints who will come to faith during the tribulation period, and is sometimes referred to as the "harvest of the earth" or the "great harvest."
In Revelation 14:14-16, John describes a vision of the Son of Man coming on a cloud and harvesting the earth with a sickle. This image is often associated with the resurrection of the saints who have come to faith during the tribulation period, and who will be gathered together to meet the Lord.
In conclusion, the harvest imagery in the Bible is closely tied to the concept of resurrection. The three harvests - the barley, wheat, and fruit harvests - are often associated with the three orders of resurrections: the resurrection of Christ, the resurrection of the saints at the time of Christ's return, which appears to be closely connected to Pentecost, and the resurrection of the saints who will come to faith during the tribulation period.
In 2023, Pentecost is expected to occur between sundown, Saturday, May 27th and sundown, Sunday May 28th.
NOW THAT WE THINK WE KNOW THE DAY, WHEN IS THE HOUR?
According to the Talmud, the offering of the firstfruits on the Day of Pentecost was made at the third hour of the day, which is approximately 9:00 am. The Talmudic source for this is found in tractate Menachot 62b, which discusses the order of the various offerings that were brought to the Temple.
The Talmud states that the offering of the firstfruits of the wheat was one of the earliest offerings to be brought to the Temple on the Day of Pentecost. It was brought after the morning daily offering, but before the additional offerings that were brought on this special occasion.
In addition to the Talmud, there are also some biblical references that suggest that the offering of the firstfruits was made in the morning. For example, in the book of Ruth, Ruth is instructed by Naomi to go to the fields early in the morning to gather the leftover grain from the harvest. This suggests that the harvesting of the grain, which would later be used for the firstfruits offering, was done early in the day (Ruth 2:7).
Furthermore, in the New Testament, the events of Acts chapter 2 take place in the morning, as it is stated that the disciples were gathered together in one place "when the day of Pentecost had come" (Acts 2:1). This suggests that the offering of the firstfruits would have also been made in the morning, as it was an integral part of the Day of Pentecost observance.
In conclusion, both the Talmud and biblical references suggest that the offering of the firstfruits on the Day of Pentecost was made in the morning, specifically at the third hour of the day, which is approximately 9:00 am. However, one can only speculate as no definitive answer can be determined. Just for fun, let us presume that the rapture will take place in 2023, and that it will happen on the Day of Pentecost scheduled for Sunday, May 28th at 9:00am. Converting Jerusalem time to US Central time, that equates to 1:00am, Sunday, May 28th! Will it happen then? No one knows, but we'll be watching just the same.