PENTECOST; What is the Truth?
The events of Pentecost, recorded in Acts, seem to many to be an event at that moment which applied to Christians. That is the way the Churches of the world teach the event, with variations.
Many Charismatic Groups in particular however, (Pentecostals etc.), claim the Powers then given, as their own, and for use today in the same way as then! Both these teachings are clearly wrong, and do not stand up to scrutiny. The Groups that teach such will not easily allow detailed examination of their claims under controlled conditions; but hide behind the comment that "only believers have the faith to discuss or practice such things"!
Whilst the leaders have sufficient adherents and funds, they can continue this teaching, but the writers have found that they do not welcome questioning, or challenge to their teachings.
The Scriptures they use to justify their claims, are in the Bible, and the writers and others have tried to apply them, when at a relatively naive stage of Scriptural understanding, but found that they did not work! (See: A WALK OF FAITH ). The subject is covered in detail in: GIFTS AT PENTECOST
At this stage, the writers state absolutely, that they know that Almighty God can, and will heal, and perform other great events; He is after all, ALMIGHTY, and through our Lord Christ Jesus, He maintains all life; and all things in Creation! That fact is totally different to the claims by many groups, that they can by prayer demand healing from The Almighty, in the mode of the Acts period.
If the leaders of these groups examined their claims and results in truth, they would be forced to re-examine their understanding of Scripture, and to revise their teachings. They are usually resistant to such suggestion, stating that to do so goes against Scripture and often accusing the proponents of being servants of the great Enemy Satan!
It is sad that they will not take note of Christ's own words of their teaching Matt. 7:20-23. In the Lord's words quoted in these verses, He is warning against false teachers even though they respond "Lord have we not prophesied in Thy Name? and in Thy Name have cast out demons? and in Thy Name have done wonderful things"?
Whilst it is true to say that these words of our Lord were to Israel of the time, the fact of the current proliferation in the world of such false teaching almost certainly has relevance to now, due to Acts 28:25-28; and particularly to the coming period of time prior to "The Day of the Lord" (Rev. 1:10).
The prime purpose in this time (Age), is to preach Christ crucified for the sins of the individual and the world, His present position sitting at the Right Hand of God the Father in Heaven, and His return to Earth to collect His Body and to save His remnant people Israel, probably at the time of their greatest distress in the future.
However; When the Bible is read and noted from cover to cover, the remarkable fact emerges, that Jehovah God allows and uses His Great Power, primarily in relation to His dealings and protection of Israel! Re. the position of the Jews in Scripture and history, See: The position of the Jews in Scripture, Old and New Testaments.
There is at present a teaching and belief abounding, that Israel has finally been made of no account by Almighty God; now or in the future! That the "new Israel" is the Church of God worldwide (Christendom)! That all the prophesies in the Old and New Testament relating to Israel's future suffering and glorious rescue, are destined for the Church, because Israel has been rejected by God!
Interestingly this particular false teaching regarding Israel easily leaves the way open for their coming persecution by the Antichrist and leaves the adherents of such teaching open to easy manipulation by Antichrist and his forces against Israel during The Great Tribulation!
Christians worldwide should be aware that to harbour a spirit of anti-Semitism is doing the work of our great Enemy Satan.
The current growth of anti-Semitism worldwide almost certainly shows the time of Israel's re-emergence and re-instatement by Almighty God is close. See: Replacement Theology.
Some teach that we are in the Millennial Kingdom now, which clearly shows their lack of knowledge of Scripture in Truth, or their perversion of Scripture!
In the view of the writers, this particular fallacy opens the adherents up to much condemnation at the Judgements, and even more severe Satanic deception in their human endeavours at the present time. In these statements and teachings, claiming that we are in the Tribulation/Millennial now, and that it is the "Christian's duty to prepare the world for Christ's return", after THEY have sorted the world out; these people and teachings, are claiming that which rightfully belongs to God the Father and the Son, and is clearly shown in the Bible in Old and New Testaments!
Scripture clearly shows that prior to the return of Christ Jesus, Israel will endure much suffering, and many of the religions of the world will have been subsumed into Satan's deception, wittingly and unwittingly.
God, in His Wrath on the perverse Gentile Nations, will fulfil His prophecies against them stated in many parts of OT and NT Scripture. His Wrath is because of the world's rejection and ill treatment of both His Son Christ Jesus, and also their mistreatment of Israel. His Holy Vengeance is the first fruits of a new Age (which is not the “New Age Movement”), which will be overseen by the Risen Christ, as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Who Himself is the "first fruits of those that are His Body"!
Because of this substitution in the minds and teaching of these Churches/groups, many Christians apply to themselves the events of Revelation/Daniel, and make claims on, and from the Holy Spirit of God, that are not theirs to do! An example of this is the claim by some that we are already in the events of the Tribulation, and the protection and powers that will be afforded to some groups from God at that time.
The fact is that Israel was not finally destroyed in AD 70, they were subdued, and dispersed and set to one side temporarily, as per prophecy (Lo- Ammi) Hosea 1 and 2, and elsewhere. They will be readopted by God (Ammi), in the probable near future!
The fact is they will suffer terribly in the Tribulation period, but will emerge gloriously, under rescue by Christ!
It is considered a fact that the True Church, the Body of Christ, will most probably be taken from the Earth, (Rapture) prior to "the Wrath of God on the Nations", as they are not "destined for Wrath" (Rom. 5:9, 1:18, 1Thess. 1:10, 5:9 & Joel 3). The timing on the "Rapture" is much discussed in Christian circles world-wide, but in the opinion of the writers it is probably before the rescue of the remnant Israel; i.e. prior to the “Wrath of God” on aberrant Gentile peoples and prior to “Jacob’s Trouble”!
It is worth a word here on these references. Romans 5:9 states the fact and promise!
Romans 1:18 states the particular wrath of God, on those that “hold down” the Truth in unrighteousness! ("Down" is wrongly omitted in the AV translation; but included in the NKJV, and other versions. Its omission massively changes the meaning)! 1Thess.1:10 states the fact and the promise! 1Thess. 5:9 in the correct translation states "rescue" from the wrath of God, which is the correct translation of the word "Salvation"!
The whole point being given in these assurances from Paul, is that the "wrath" referred to is that of God on the Godless Nations of the world, during His dealings with them for the first time since the Flood, and as described in Revelation and OT!
God would not wish His Holy Wrath to be visited on those of His Son’s Body; in the words of Acts 9:4-5; "Saul why persecutest thou Me, I am Jesus whom thou Persecutest"!
This statement of The Risen Christ, neatly leads us into the essence of this discussion. Christ stated to Paul that he was persecuting "Jesus", i.e. Stephen and others. These people were still abiding in their flesh, and although "sealed" in Heavenly places (2Cor. 1:22 & Eph. 1:13) they had not realised their future potential (as Christ’s Risen Body) and could not until they died, and been raised by Him!
It is clear that the Risen Christ in this conversation with Paul, did not want the persecution of His Earthly Body to continue, because it was slowing and delaying the Kingdom Message reaching the Jew first, and the Gentile second, to say nothing of the pleasure it was giving Satan!
The show of the Divine Power to Paul was akin to the other Miraculous events during our Lord’s first Earthly Ministry to the Jewish people, and also those subsequent to Saul’s conversion, as shown in the Miraculous releases from prisons and other of the shows of Divine Power as recorded in Acts, until Acts 28:28!
Why until Acts 28:28? Quite simply because at that stage the Jewish Nation became Lo-Ammi, (not My people) as described above! As the above thesis proposes, when Israel are not in the Favour and therefore the Prophetic Progress of Jehovah God, the Special Powers that are apparent in Scripture to His People cease, as their Exile to Babylon, and dispersion worldwide since AD 70 witness!
The fact is that much of present and probably future Christendom is probably not the Body of Christ! In the events prior to the "Day of the Lord" many people who consider themselves to be Christians but have not truly taken Christ in faith, will remain on Earth, and will have the chance to be "Overcomers" with those of the Jews! The fact is that although the "eternal Gospel" (Rev. 14:6) will be given to all Earth's "Nations" again, by an Angel, many will follow the Antichrist (Beast) and those who are Jews and follow the Antichrist will receive his mark so that they may survive in that terrible time!
Some Christian groups teach that all the world's peoples will be subject to "the mark of the Beast", but it seems to be clear from Revelation that the "marking" is primarily for the Jews that accept Antichrist's rule, but it may be that marking also applies to other than just the Jews. It has to be said that the wording can be taken both ways, but that the major emphasis of Revelation is focused on the Satanic persecution of the Jewish Nation, both in Israel and worldwide, and the Judgements of God on the Christ and Jew rejecting Nations (see Seal releases in Revelation). (See: www.revelationsmessage.co.uk).
Why does the above overview conflict with the standard view and teaching of the established Churches and most Sects?
In the view of the writers, in the case of the "Churches" it is because of the “hidebound” condition and history of their progression, from the ‘Church Fathers’ of the 1st Century AD. At times there emerged a renaissance, which promised a renewal, or new look at what the Scriptures say (see Martin Luther); but Satan, as the present ruler of the world, is quickly able to subdue such renaissance; by the use in mankind of their fallen sin nature.
When one considers the very promising start made by Martin Luther, which began the slow release of the Roman Church’s grip on the Scriptures, only to be marred by Luther’s anti-Semitic bias, the progress slowed, and remains slow, as most of Protestantism has not yet allowed that Israel is the Key to proper understanding of Scripture!
That condition has worsened, to the point that even the truth of Acts 4:12 is denied, and "many ways to God" has become the teaching and mantra!
In the case of the various Sects, many are corrupted from inception, many denying even, or particularly, the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Starting at Acts 2, when the Jewish feast of Pentecost was about to start, the Apostles were gathered together for the Feast, and a remarkable event took place. The men concerned were all witnesses to Jesus’ Resurrection as the Christ, (Anointed) of God (Acts 1:22); and as such were of the unique band of men who Christ had appeared to as the Resurrected Lord of Glory!
Although others had seen the Resurrected Lord, these men had been chosen by Him during His Ministry to His people the Jews ("I come only to the lost sheep of Israel" Matt. 10:6 & 15:24)!
From (v 2), there is graphic account of the "filling of the Holy Spirit" of the men, and (v 6), one of the reasons for that filling!
There was much amazement at the sudden event and its manifestation (v 12), with the usual mockery, (v 13).
However; Peter (the fisherman previously) speaks; and explains under the power of the Holy Spirit, that those events were prophesied almost 500 years earlier, by Joel the Prophet. Peter quotes Joel:
(Joel 2:28), "And it shall come to pass afterwards, that I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh….."
The following verses (Joel 2:28-32) are describing the effect of that outpouring, which is what Peter is saying had started at Acts 2!
It must be remembered; that the Book of Joel is Prophetic not just to Israel of the time, but also to the "Day of the Lord" i.e. properly translated "the Day of Jehovah" (Rev. 1:10) in the yet future! Had Israel at the time come to accept Christ as Messiah, by the efforts of Paul and his colleagues, over 30 years of their work, "The Day of the Lord" would have arrived as per Joel, and Christ would have returned at that time to set up the Millennium Kingdom after the rescue of remnant Israel from the Roman occupation.
The fact of the rejection by Israel of Christ Jesus as their Messiah, led to their being set to one side temporary (Lo-Ammi), and as per Acts 28:28 the message of Salvation in Christ was sent to the Gentiles, which is the current position; see also Bible Dispensations.
What Peter is stating in Acts 2 is the "foretaste" of the great "outpouring" of the Holy Spirit on all flesh as described in Joel 2:28-29.
This context, puts the statement by Peter into its proper historical location; had Israel accepted his and Paul's words re. Christ Messiah!
The Lord gave knowledge just prior to his ascending into Heaven that empowerment for special purposes would be given (Acts 1:8). That event took place at Pentecost, which was 50 days (7 Jewish Sabbaths) after Our Lord became the wave offering before Jehovah of the first fruit at Passover (Lev. 23:10-15) & (1Cor. 15:23). Our Lord's Ascension to the Father was as the first fruit (wave offering Lev. 23), and hence His command to Mary Magdalene at the tomb not to touch Him, (John 20:17).
Pentecost as is well known is the Jewish Feast to celebrate a number of parts of their history, i.e. the Exodus, etc., but also concentrates on thanksgiving for expiation of sin together with sin offerings. A major part of the celebration is for the FIRST FRUITS of the harvest, as it was after this stage that it is released for general consumption prior to which it is in the domain of Jehovah only.
Christ (Messiah), is the first fruit of those that have eternal life (1Cor. 15:20-23). The fact that the Holy Spirit gave empowerment at that moment for initially the evangelising (general consumption) of the Jews (Acts 2), clearly points to the yet future celebration of the feast of Booths the celebration of Harvest! At the Pentecost feast, many foreign Jews were in Jerusalem with many different languages spoken. Peter the fisherman later the disciple and very close friend of Jesus, despite his denials, was given the special task to care for and to feed Christ's (Messiah's) lambs and sheep, which confirmed Christ's statement that He came only to the lost sheep of Israel (Matt. 15:24), (at that time).
Peter spoke at the moment of empowering to explain what was happening. He referred to (Joel 2:28-31) where the prophecy was given that such would happen. The reading of Joel in the context of Peter's comment clearly shows together with other cross references in Scripture, that this was a particularly critical moment in the history of the Jewish people, as the Joel prophecy refers to the end Age events for Israel, and the dealing of the Almighty with the Nations of the world, (see Revelation).
The special gifts that were given of tongues, languages, were meant for translation of the Gospel of Christ which was the Kingdom Gospel, to the foreign Jews (Acts 2), there at that time, and also in the following years as the apostles and evangelists moved out into those territories. The special empowerment at that time (called by some the gifts of the Spirit, as such they were), continued for a number of years up to the end of Acts 28:28; with various of Christ's disciples and apostles, with remarkable effect both in terms of healing, but particularly as regards the spreading of the Gospel of Messiah come to the Jews!
Unfortunately, as the evangelistic work progressed so did the opposition of the Enemy particularly through the hierarchical Jewish priesthood etc., and important Synagogues throughout the known world rejected the message of Paul (which Paul had been uniquely commissioned to present by Christ on the Damascus road).
Despite the rebuffing by the Synagogues and the Jewish hierarchy, Jews and Gentiles formed into separate groups (Ekklesia), and many miraculous events and happenings are recorded.
Resistance inside the Jewish community and priestly hierarchy grew and by roughly AD 61 Paul visited the most important Synagogue in the Gentile world (as was then known) at Rome.
The events of Acts 28:28 record, that although Paul was heard, Christ's message was again rejected, and from Acts 28:28 (approx. AD 64) onwards, Scripture records the remarkable, and for the Jews terrible condemnation that the message of Christ would now go to the Gentiles, to the blessing of the Gentiles, and the formation of the "Mystery Church which is comprised of both Jews and Gentiles, but mainly at the present time of Gentiles due to the rejection of Christ Jesus as Messiah by Pharisaic Israel", (Rom. 16:25-26), (Eph. 3:3-9) & (Eph. 5:30-32).
It is of special note that after Acts 28:28, Paul wrote 7 more Letters, which are changed in emphasis, to those of his earlier writings. They are Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon. These teachings are for the current Church; the Body of Christ Jesus (together with the rest of Holy Scripture as context)!
That juncture also corresponds with the prophecy in Hosea where Israel is made Lo-Ammi ("Not My People"). Since that terrible punctuation mark in history, of the sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Jewish Temple by the Romans, Israel has remained "Lo-Ammi".
Up to the sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple 483 years had elapsed of the 490 of the prophecy given to Daniel (Dan. 9) which was given to him by the angel of Jehovah, the commencement of which was to be from the beginning of the rebuilding of the Temple and the walls of Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. There are yet 7 years of that prophecy to be fulfilled, at the beginning of which Jewish history will have re-started, in the Almighty's definition of Jewish history.
As can be seen above, the fact that the Jewish Nation rejected Christ finally at Acts 28:28, brought about the temporary end to the marvellous Holy Spirit overt driven events of Acts 2! Also however, in the view of the writers, it also halted "Prophetic History", of which the above mentioned 7 years have yet to run.
Prophetic History is defined here as that relating to Israel, past and future. Therefore, until Israel is again "Ammi", (My people); their history in Prophecy cannot continue.
Since they became a Nation again in 1948, that fact, and their God driven remarkable survival against great odds, shows a change from their nearly 2000 years of exile and dispersion in the world.
In Matt. 21:19-20, and Mark 11:13; Christ cursed the Fig tree for not having fruited, it withered and died. He also said that others would no longer eat of its fruit, “to the end of the Age”. As the Fig represents Israel’s “National Privilege”, the statement states that Her Fruit would no longer be enjoyed by the world, or Herself! This has been the case since AD 70, and will continue until She is “Ammi” again, probably soon, looking at world events; and the apparent current budding .
In Matt. 24:32-33, and Mark 13:28; Jesus shows, and states the revival of the Fig tree, and that when "it puts forth shoots, know that summer is nigh"; stating that all the events He detailed in the previous verses would be close to fruition!
The revival of Israel as a Nation in the eyes of the world, is taken as "the shoots", and that Israel in the History of God Jehovah, is soon to recommence!
When consideration is given to Dan. 9:24-27; it is seen in v 27 that 7 years of Prophetic History have yet to be fulfilled, when the Fig is readopted.
The descriptions in Revelation are assumed by most commentators to have a duration of 7 years, (however the writers are of the view it is 3½ years, as the first 3½ is a time of “peace and safety”, 1Thess. 5:3) and in Dan. 9:27, the "Covenant" is "broken, half way through the 7 years" which corresponds with the teaching of Jesus in Matt. 24:15!
It is assumed that this whole period is leading to, or is already "the Day of Jehovah" (The Lord), (Rev. 1:10) which has reference in many places in the Old Testament, and will be the first time that Jehovah God (Jehovah Zebaoth) has dealt directly with all the world’s peoples since the Flood of Genesis.
Revelation details the events of the Tribulation of Israel, with the remarkable sustaining Spirit given to the "Ekklesia", or groups, called by the translators, “Churches” which is certainly misleading; as the references show Jewish identity, in Rev. 1:6, in that only the Jewish people are destined as a "Royal Priesthood"!
The events in Acts 28:28, brought to an end the special Spiritual Gifts for the Jewish Apostles; in Revelation 1:20, the stars and candlesticks relate to special enabling for purpose; which will be "Overcoming"; which is the oft repeated criterion of that time!
The foregoing has proposed that historically Israel has from Scriptural record been afforded by Jehovah God Special Powers from Him at times determined by Him, for the purpose of His eventual compliance with His Promises and Words to the Jewish Patriarchs.
His Presence and Blessing is contingent on the timing of those Powers and Upholding for Israel, and as an example, when His "Glory" departed Solomon’s Temple; Israel shortly afterwards became exiled in Babylon, for 70 years, and that was as a consequence of the continuing Paganism (unfaithfulness) of Israel with the surrounding gods of the heathens!
When after Daniel’s prayerful intervention, and his knowledge of the exile duration "from books", under Ezra and Nehemiah the Nation was re-established at Jerusalem after 70 years captivity.
After Ezra’s death, the Jewish people again became quickly wayward, and produced their own interpretation of Scripture, which are called by some "Wisdom writings", (see: Jewish Scriptures).
It is noteworthy that Jehovah did not "inhabit" their new Temple, and it is significant that Jesus referred to it as the "the Temple of the Jews"!
These, and other of their wayward behaviour are what our Lord railed against, and after His Resurrection, commissioned Saul/ Paul in particular to show and instruct the Jews, that would hear him, of their gross error! That continued until Acts 28:28, and the Special Enabling of Pentecost continued until the same time!
Then followed what has been called the "Church Age", or "the Age of Grace", a concept that Paul explained, and showed that it had been "kept secret" until The Jewish Nation had finally rejected the offer of "the New Covenant", at the last of the Jewish Synagogues to be visited by Paul in Rome!
The last 7 years of the Prophecy given to Daniel have yet to be enacted on Earth, and as proposed in this thesis, Israel must again be Ammi (My people); which reverses the condition they entered in AD 70!
It is also contended here, that they will again be given Special Powers from Jehovah God, which will be suitable for the purpose of their trials as “Overcomers”, and which are described in Revelation.
It will have been noticed that the emphasis in this paper is the Holy Spirit's intervention at times of need in the Prophetic Progress of Israel, when they are "Ammi"; displayed frequently in the OT, and evidenced in the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation.
The source Text that the Pentecostal/ Charismatic Churches and Groups worldwide use for all their teaching (perhaps one should say miss-teachings), is Joel 2:28-29, and the NT counterpart Acts 2:17-18; which they claim as their own, ignoring the simple fact that both in context obviously apply to Israel! This therefore means they are misusing Scripture with false claims and teaching! This also means that they are in danger of being in co-operation (in league) with Satan’s spirits; which will be held to their account when they answer to Christ Jesus or God Almighty’s examinations!
They should especially be warned of this, as Satan via his Anti-Christ will do many “miraculous” things during his short time in “Jacob’s Trouble”! The many worldwide groups that now teach “the second blessing” are misleading many, many sincere people; and will have to give an account of them-selves to God; especially as they refuse to “show proof” of their claims, and by their teachings are turning Scripture truths into heresy. The confusion they spread in the minds of the population are fighting God’s Word for His people’s worldwide!
A careful reading of Joel 2:28 shows that the promised "Holy Spirit on all flesh", is AFTER v 27, and all the preceding verses of Joel 2; with the dramatic statement by Jehovah God that He is in the midst of Israel! The "all flesh" statement in the writers opinion, means Israel (although some would say all people left on Earth, at that time).
The Holy Spirit's events regarding Revelation are yet future at this date (2017), and are as said for Israel's protection and progress together with "the Overcomers", who will most certainly be mainly Jews, but both Jews of Israel and the Diaspora in many Nations of the world at that terrible time.
Confirmation of the above is given by Peter in Acts 2:22 "Ye men of Israel, hear these words"!
The subject is discussed in some detail in: www.revelationsmessage.co.uk
Footnote; in 2018, Israel will have been a ‘Nation’ again for 70 years; in the ‘Legal’ UN definition. Many people of “faith” feel this may be of significant as the number 70 is of special significance in God’s dealings with them; see Appendix 10 in Dr. Bullinger’s Companion Bible!
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