Pentecost

Pentecost Pictures the 'Firstfruits' in God's Plan

MINISTUDY Pentecost Pictures the ‘Firstfruits’ in God’s Plan   Prepared by Richard H. Sedliacik The Good News, May 1983   God’s master plan continues to unfold before your very eyes! As you discovered in the last two ministudies, there are seven annual festivals picturing God’s plan of salvation for mankind. God instituted these festivals to remind His Church year after year of how He is bringing about His stupendous purpose for our lives — of ultimately becoming spirit-born members of His divine, universe-ruling Family. The Passover is the beginning, the very first step, in His master plan for mankind. It is a memorial to remind us that Jesus Christ (“our Passover” — I Cor. 5:7) paid a tremendous price for our sins. Once we have been forgiven by God, we must strive to put all the “leaven” of sin out of our lives, as pictured by the Feast of Unleavened Bread (I Cor. 5:8). That is our part of God’s plan, which we are to act out every spring by putting physical leaven out of our homes and eating unleavened bread during seven days. This seven-day Festival reminds us of our continual need to obey God’s commandments. But God knows that to successfully put sin out of our lives and keep it out, our own human willpower and abilities are not enough. We need the spiritual strength of God’s Holy Spirit to help us obey God’s spiritual law. This is the third step in God’s master plan, pictured by the third annual Festival, the day of Pentecost.   1. What were God’s instructions regarding this Festival? Lev. 23:15-17, 20. Was this Feast a Holy Day, or Sabbath of rest on which the people were to assemble? Verse 21. Was it to be kept by God’s people every year forever? Same verse. At this point in our study we need to understand the symbolism of a ceremony associated with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and how it ties in with the third annual Festival. Although the meaning of this ceremony is important, it is no longer performed today because it pictured a future event which has since occurred.   2. What kind of offering had to be presented to God before the spring harvest could begin? Verses 9-11, 14. As explained in the first of this series of seven studies, God established His festivals in conjunction with the two annual agricultural harvests in the land of Palestine. God uses these harvests as a pattern for the two spiritual “harvests” of His great master plan. The first harvest of this part of the world is the relatively smaller spring grain harvest following winter rains. Anciently, it began on the day of the “wavesheaf” offering and ended just before the Feast of Firstfruits, or day of Pentecost as it is called among Greek-speaking peoples. (Pentecost is a Greek term meaning “fiftieth [day].”) In the late summer and early autumn, the second and much bigger harvest is reaped. It follows the late spring rains in Palestine and anciently ended just before the Feast of Ingathering, otherwise known as the Feast of Tabernacles. These physical harvests help us to understand that God is not dealing with the vast majority of the world today. God is calling only the few into His Church during the period between Christ’s life on earth as a human being and His Second Coming. And so God intends the spring festivals to illustrate to His Church yearly that all of those He has called to become His Spirit-begotten children since Christ’s first coming are the “firstfruits” (Jas. 1:18) — the relatively small beginning of His spiritual harvest of mankind into His divine Family. Later, as pictured by the festivals of the much larger autumn harvest season, God will call the billions to salvation and sonship in His glorious Family after Christ’s return. As we read in Leviticus 23, the Days of Unleavened Bread occur at the beginning of the spring harvest season. Many shoots of grain, planted earlier, have grown to maturity. They are now fruit-bearing stalks ready to be harvested. The spring harvest began in the following manner: On the morning of the first day of the week (Sunday) during the Days of Unleavened Bread, a sheaf of newly sickled barley was brought to the priest to be accepted by God. This was called the “wavesheaf offering” and represented the first of the firstfruits harvest. Once the wavesheaf was offered, the harvest could begin. The spring harvest ended by the time of the Feast of Firstfruits 50 days later, when the people gathered on this annual Sabbath to give God thanks for the firstfruits of the year’s crops He had given them (verses 15-17, 21). Now let’s see the connection between the wavesheaf offering and Jesus Christ.   3. Who was the first ever to be resurrected from the dead into God’s Family? I Cor. 15:20. Was He therefore the first of the firstfruits of God’s spiritual harvest? Same verse, Col. 1:18. Therefore, are Spirit-begotten Christians clearly the firstfruits of God’s great master plan? Jas. 1:18, Rom. 8:23.   4. After Christ was resurrected from the dead, did He have to ascend to His Father in heaven? John 20:17. On that same day after returning from heaven, could His disciples touch Him? Compare Matthew 28:9 with John 20:19-20, 27-28. This was the first day of the week (Sunday) during the Days of Unleavened Bread. It was on the very same day that the wavesheaf was offered that Jesus Christ was accepted by His Father as the spiritual “wavesheaf” offering in heaven. Christ therefore fulfilled the symbolism of the Old Testament wavesheaf offering. He was the first resurrected Son of God — the first harvested product of God’s master plan. He became the firstborn Son of God — the first human to complete the process of salvation and be “born again.” But Jesus could not have become the captain of our salvation and our elder brother without possessing an all-important ingredient from God — something we all must have to be born again as He was.   5. Could Jesus do any spiritual works, including obedience to God, with just His human strength? John 5:30, 8:28. Where did He get the necessary power? John 14:10, last part. The Father “dwelt” in Jesus through the Holy Spirit.   6. Did Christ promise the same spiritual help to His disciples? Verse 16. What is the “Helper”? Verse 26. What else is the Holy Spirit called? Verse 17. God’s Spirit had been with the disciples, but Christ promised to send it to be within them, as it had been within Him.   7. After He had been crucified and resurrected from the dead, did Jesus repeat His promise to send the Holy Spirit? Acts 1:8. Where did He tell His disciples to wait until they received God’s Spirit? Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5.   8. On what day did the disciples actually receive God’s Spirit? Acts 2:1-4. Did they thus become members of God’s spiritual Church? I Cor. 12:12-14. It was on the day of Pentecost that God first sent His Spirit to begin His Church — to beget and strengthen the firstfruits He was beginning to call into His Church, symbolically represented by the two “wave loaves” mentioned in Lev. 23:17, 20. Fifty days after Christ’s sacrifice was accepted in heaven, the Holy Spirit came to the disciples just as He had promised. The New Testament Festival of Pentecost is now a memorial that commemorates the founding of the New Testament Church of God, for it was on the day of Pentecost in A.D. 31 that the firstfruits of God’s spiritual harvest began to be prepared for reaping into His Family.  ]]>

Why Many Don't Understand Pentecost

Why Many Don’t Understand Pentecost

by Herbert W. Armstrong page 1 Good News May 1981

  Do you realize thousands of Worldwide Church of God members assemble on the day of Pentecost without really understanding what this Holy Day really means? Test yourself. Read this article and see if you do.   WE SIMPLY CAN’T understand WHY we observe the day of Pentecost just by reading the scriptures that apply specifically to that day — or apply specifically to all of God’s festivals, for that matter. You may read these specific scriptures alone and learn that you are COMMANDED to keep them. Actually that’s what Mrs. Loma Armstrong and I did. Do you realize that we kept all these Holy Days alone, by ourselves, while the Church of God members we then knew and fellowshipped with (Sardis era, Rev. 3:1-6) “mocked us to scorn”?

“Laughed to scorn”

It was history repeating itself. King Hezekiah of Judah had discovered these days ought to be kept — after both Israel and Judah had ceased observing them for a long time. The Temple at Jerusalem, through disuse, had been filled with filth. Hezekiah had the Temple cleansed. He sent out proclamations to keep the feasts of God. Judah did. Hezekiah sent messengers up into Israel, the northern kingdom, from city to city in Ephraim and Manasseh, to teach them God’s Holy Days must be kept: But “they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them” (II Chron. 30:1-10). I had learned in my intensive, almost night-and-day study of the Sabbath question that we are commanded also to keep the seven annual Holy Days. I DID NOT KNOW WHY! I knew only that God said, “DO IT!” My wife and I did — alone! For seven years!

Parent Philadelphia church kept them

It was not until God used me in raising up the first and parent church of this “Philadelphia era” (Rev. 3:7-13) that they joined with us in keeping these days. At first we kept only the seven annual Sabbaths. It was yet another seven years before God revealed to meTHE REAL MEANING OF THESE DAYS — and that we should keep the entire Feast of Tabernacles — seven days plus the final eighth day, a Holy Day. For 14 years we kept these annual days holy BECAUSE WE SAW THAT GOD COMMANDED IT. We wanted to obey! In due time God revealed to me, and I to the Church, WHY! And even then many in the Church refused to keep more than the Holy Days! And I feel many observing these festivals today do it because the Church does but do not fully understand WHY — the REAL MEANING and God’s PURPOSE in commanding them. I think of the millions observing Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, etc.— days that have NO REAL MEANING. God’s days have MEANING, and this MEANING God wants us to understand. That’s why they are repeated yearly. You need to understand what went before. Again I repeat: It’s like tuning in on a movie in the last 10 or 15 minutes of it. Not having seen what went before — what led up to it — WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT — you can’t understand what you see — you are CONFUSED — it’s MEANINGLESS!

Angels first

Few know it, but God placed angels on earth long before He created the first man and woman. They were spirit beings, composed of spirit — not matter. This earth was to be their PROVING GROUND. We need to understand that CHARACTER, either good or bad, cannot be instantly created by fiat. It must be developed by experience over a space of TIME. So God created angels with MINDS that could have knowledge, could THINK, reason, come to conclusions, make decisions. God told them of His GOVERNMENT that He set over them. To achieve God’s PURPOSE — eventually to finish the creation of the entire UNIVERSE — it was necessary that they all pull together, in harmony and unity. His GOVERNMENT was THE WAY to provide that — and also THE WAY to develop in them holy, righteous and perfect CHARACTER! God set a super archangel, the cherub LUCIFER, on the throne of the earth over the angels — probably a third of all the angels. Even the creation of the angels was not complete until CHARACTER, good or evil, had been SET in them. That required their thinking, reasoning and final decisions as to whether they would choose God’s way, which for brevity I call “GIVE,” or the evil way of “GET.” God’s GOVERNMENT is based on His LAW — the way of “GIVE.” It is the way of LOVE. It is GIVING first of all a return of the LOVE OF GOD that God gives His creatures, — giving it in obedience, reverence, worship, walking in fellowship with God, in a close contact with God. But Lucifer led the angels into the opposite way of “GET.” This is the way of vanity, lust and greed, jealousy, envy, competition, strife, violence, destruction, resentment and bitterness and rebellion against God and His authority over them. The angels SINNED (II Pet. 2:4). They SET their character as EVIL. Lucifer was disqualified to administer the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, but his jurisdiction was the entire earth, and God would not remove him TILL a successor QUALIFIED to RESTORE the GOVERNMENT OF GOD on earth, and also had been INDUCTED INTO OFFICE.

God to reproduce Himself!

This left God (Hebrew Elohim, including God and THE WORD, who also was God and later became Jesus Christ — John 1:1-14). The uniplural GOD (Elohim) was the ONLY being who could be relied upon never to violate the law of God’s GOVERNMENT — for it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to sin. Now came the MOST STUPENDOUS, AWESOME PROJECT OF ALL! God would REPRODUCE HIMSELF! He would do this through creating MAN in His own image, but out of matter. Spirit cannot be changed. But matter could be changed from the “GET” way to the “GIVE” way. This required repentance to be granted by God, and the human repenting, and with God’s help CHANGING to GOD’S character. After this mortal MAN could, by a resurrection, be changed to SPIRIT composition, with holy, righteous, perfect CHARACTER, made then IMPOSSIBLE ever to sin — born a Child of GOD! WHAT a fantastic, AWESOME PROJECT! Angelic sin had wrought great devastation to the earth (Gen. 1:2 — Hebrew tohu and bohu, really meaning “waste, empty, decay”), and I think it is indicated this same state of waste and decay occurred simultaneously to all planets in the universe, since they were LUCIFER’S potential jurisdiction. So in six days God RENEWED (Ps. 104:30) the face of the earth for occupation by MAN. The earth was formed of MATTER. God formed MAN of the dust of the ground. WHY? Because, as explained above, matter is subject to CHANGE — spirit is NOT. Once a spirit being is CREATED, he is immortal — changeless — can never be changed. Lucifer’s and his angels’ creation was not completed until THEY made their decision, choosing which CHARACTER they would SET in them, good or evil. They chose evil and can NEVER CHANGE. LUCIFER’S name was changed to SATAN the DEVIL. The angels that sinned became DEMONS. But now, once again, in renewing its face God made the earth BEAUTIFUL. He created fish life, bird life, animal life — each after its own KIND — then said, “Let us [not ME] make MAN in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). In other words, after the God kind — GOD WAS REPRODUCING HIMSELF. That meant ultimately to produce Beings LIKE HIM, actually BORN OF HIM — in HIS FAMILY, and He, GOD, was to become the FATHER of the divine FAMILY, each born of Him, becoming one of His CHILDREN. For the formation of CHARACTER, man must have MIND — capability — as had the angels, to KNOW, to THINK, to REASON, to COME TO CONCLUSIONS, to MAKE CHOICES AND DECISIONS. To give mortal human MAN this MIND power, God put a human spirit in every man that imparts INTELLECT to the human brain. A number of animals have BRAINS of larger or smaller size — otherwise approximately equal to human brain — EXCEPT they lack spirit to impart powers of INTELLECT. But this human spirit does not SEE — the BRAIN sees through the eyes. The BRAIN hears through the ears. Knowledge may be stored in the human spirit, working as a COMPUTER to supply instant recall for THINKING. But the spirit is NOT the MAN — only something ADDED to him. It is capable of receiving and storing knowledge only through the human BRAIN and therefore is CONFINED to PHYSICAL KNOWLEDGE ONLY. The spirit does not impart human LIFE. The LIFE resides in the BLOOD, and is oxidized and keeps the man alive by breathing AIR — the “BREATH OF LIFE.” BUT – one of the WONDERS of the mighty God — this human spirit was made to NEED ANOTHER SPIRIT TO JOIN WITH IT — the HOLY SPIRIT of GOD. This is the very LIFE of God — immortal, divine God life. Once a man receives God’s HOLY SPIRIT as God’s GIFT, he is BEGOTTEN (not yet born) as a CHILD OF GOD. He becomes an HEIR — not yet an inheritor — of God. But God’s HOLY SPIRIT, imparted to man, joins with his human spirit. (“The Spirit [God’s] itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” [Rom. 8:16].) The HOLY SPIRIT adds power to comprehend — to UNDERSTAND — spiritual knowledge and spiritual principles, which carnal man with ONLY the human spirit cannot know. “For what MAN knoweth the things of a man [unknown to animals], save [by] the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but [by] the Spirit of GOD” (I Cor. 2:11). The Holy Spirit imparts spiritual UNDERSTANDING, the LOVE of God, the FAITH of Christ and POWER to overcome. In the Garden of Eden were two trees. One was the “tree of life,” which symbolized the Holy Spirit. Adam NEEDED this Spirit, beside the human spirit already created in him. God offered it freely. But Adam had to make a CHOICE. Also in the midst of the garden was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. To take of it was to REJECT God’s HOLY SPIRIT — GOD life, God’s divine LOVE to fulfill God’s law, spiritual knowledge of good and evil — deciding FOR THEMSELVES what is right and what is wrong — whereas God’s LAW defines that — and the tree of LIFE also symbolized God’s LAW and GOD’S GOVERNMENT, which Satan had rejected. In effect, Adam said to God, after being instructed by Him and tempted and misled by Satan: “I choose to go MY OWN WAY — to DECIDE FOR MYSELF what is right and what is wrong. I want to be free to DO AS I PLEASE — not bound by and obedient to YOUR LAW. I want to RULE MYSELF — I reject you as ruler over me.” As the fountainHEAD of the entire human family, he thereby CUT ALL HUMANITY OFF FROM GOD — CUT HUMANITY off from access to the HOLY SPIRIT and any contact with GOD. God then sentenced him and the human family to 6,000 years of being CUT OFF from contact with God. God adopted a 6,000-year “hands-off” policy toward human affairs. In effect, God said, “Go, form your OWN governments, your OWN religions, your OWN forms of education, knowledge, production, your OWN society and civilization.” Adam probably did not realize it, and MAN, since, has NOT realized it, but SATAN has been subtly working in the minds of all humanity, swaying humanity HIS WAY — the way of “GET” (Eph. 2:2, II Cor. 4:4). But — after the 6,000-year trial to PROVE that the way of “GET” leads only to unhappiness, discontent, sorrow, pain and suffering, disease and frustration and DEATH — God’s MASTER PLAN called for 1,000 years of the RULE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD and the establishment of the KINGDOM OF GOD. God reserved the prerogative of intervening at any time He deemed necessary for His ultimate PURPOSE—to REPRODUCE HIMSELF and HIS PERFECT, HOLY, RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER in humans, changed FROM the “GET” to the “GIVE” way and finally made immortal.

Where the Holy Days come in

Now, HERE’S where the annual HOLY DAYS and FESTIVALS picture to God’s people annually God’s MASTER PLAN for working out HIS PURPOSE here below! Up to this point I have given you the BACKGROUND without which you simply CANNOT fully understand the annual festivals. So here, in order, are God’s HOLY FESTIVALS! I – THE PASSOVER. This first Festival is NOT a Holy Day or annual Sabbath, but a festival nevertheless. It reminds us annually that Christ died for our sins — for ALL have sinned — and His death paid our penalty in our stead. Jesus was God as well as MAN. God was His only Father. He was begotten in the womb of Mary, not by a male human, but by God the Father through the Holy Spirit. Thus He was able, even though tempted like all other humans — actually far worse — for He had to meet Satan head on in spiritual combat, to overcome Satan and QUALIFY to restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD on THIS EARTH. Until He had qualified, the assurance of the KINGDOM OF GOD to replace Satan’s invisible rule over mankind could not be announced. At this point it might be well to explain HOW Satan has ruled MAN. He did not say to Eve, through whom he caused Adam to sin, “Choose MY government, based on ‘GET,’ instead of God’s government, based on ‘GIVE.’ ” He led her, and through her Adam, to believe they were simply setting out ON THEIR OWN, deciding for themselves what is right and what is wrong, actually setting up their own human rule. So man has actually believed ever since. He has been deceived. He does not know Satan is his real ruler.

HOW Satan sways man

Satan is subtle. He DECEIVES. A deceived person does not know he is deceived — that he is wrong. He thinks he is RIGHT! Satan has DECEIVED THE WHOLE WORLD (Rev. 12:9). How? Satan is a SPIRIT being. He is the prince of the POWER OF THE AIR (Eph. 2:2). I told you about the human spirit in every human. When God wanted to communicate with Cyrus, king of Persia, to move him to send out a proclamation to move a contingent of captive Jews back to Jerusalem to build the second Temple, “the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom” (Ezra 1:1), saying God had charged him to have this Temple built. God moved Cyrus through Cyrus’ human spirit to do His will. Likewise, Satan, a powerful spirit being next to God in power, and prince of the power of the air, is the SPIRIT “that NOW worketh in the children of disobedience” — that is, all humanity. I could not have understood that until I myself began BROADCASTING by radio and television. Every human spirit is TUNED IN ON HIS WAVELENGTH. He does not broadcast in words or music or pictures. You hear no sound. He broadcasts in ATTITUDES — attitudes of vanity, lust and greed, envy and jealousy, the spirit of competition, strife, bitterness and anger, hatred, violence, rebellion against GOD. Thus he is the god of this world, who has been able to have “blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ . . . should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:4). Yes, he is the god of this world’s many religions. They know not the TRUE God. So has Satan continued to RULE THE WORLD, still on the throne of the earth where God placed him when his name was LUCIFER. It is so cleverly done man thinks he is ruling himself. Christ in the Bible is called the “SECOND ADAM.” Where the first Adam fell before Satan’s subtlety, the second Adam chose the “GIVE” way and conquered Satan, qualifying to RESTORE THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD. Just a few words at this point of events between the first and second Adam. God must have revealed some truth and His PURPOSE and PLAN to a few, from the time of Adam and Eve. Abel was called righteous by Jesus. Enoch walked with God. Noah was perfect, not only in his generations (ancestry), but in obedience to God. God spoke direct to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and blessed whatever Joseph did. Then God intervened in this world’s affairs by miraculously leading the slave descendants of Abraham out of Egypt. And God began revealing His truth IN WRITING through Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Bible. And here we find the first record of the annual Holy Day festivals. Yet we must put Leviticus 23 and the other sparse notices of the festivals with other scriptures, as I am here doing, to perfectly UNDERSTAND THEM and their REAL MEANING. God called Israel, NOT for spiritual salvation, but as a carnal people of THIS WORLD, to whom He could reveal certain knowledge and laws, and test their willingness to obey — to demonstrate that, WITHOUT the Holy Spirit, the natural mind of man is wholly carnal (physical, material, fleshly). God gave His Holy Spirit ONLY to the prophets of His own choosing for the purpose of doing God’s WORK as assigned to them. The Passover commemorates the Passover night in Egypt, when the death angel flew over Egypt, killing the firstborn in every house where the BLOOD (lamb’s) was not on the side posts and upper doorpost of the houses. The Israelites killed and ate roast lamb that night — a type of the crucifixion of Christ, called the Lamb of God. Therefore the MEANING of Passover is to remind us yearly of Christ’s death in payment of the penalty of our sins. But Christ’s DEATH does not save us, by imparting ETERNAL LIFE. It merely RECONCILES US TO GOD. Those so reconciled are no longer CUT OFF from God. Through Christ they have been restored to CONTACT with God, who has eternal life to GIVE. Read Romans 5:8-10. We are finally SAVED by His RESURRECTION, not His death. The “blood of Christ” is the START toward eternal life, not the completion of it. II – Now we come to the SECOND Festival — the SEVEN DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD. Remember, the first step is coming to Christ and accepting His shed blood as payment for our sins. But Jesus said plainly, “No MAN CAN COME TO ME, EXCEPT THE FATHER WHICH HATH SENT ME DRAW HIM” (JOHN 6:44). THE WORLD IS CUT OFF FROM GOD. The only way to reestablish contact with God (the Father) is through CHRIST. And except the FATHER DRAW HIM, by means of His Holy Spirit, NO MAN CAN come to Christ. Jesus selected and directly called His disciples. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16), Jesus said. ONLY THOSE SPECIALLY CHOSEN (predestinated) BY THE FATHER could, in the day of Jesus and the apostles, come to Christ. So it has been through this Church age; God IS NOT TRYING, now, to get the world saved. Rather, we are STILL in the 6,000-year time when MAN IS CUT OFF from God. And GOD IS DRAWING to Christ ONLY those PREDESTINED (CHOSEN) by God! It was GOD’S PURPOSE that MAN should write the lesson in human experience that the “GET” way leads only to unhappiness, discontent, suffering, frustration, destruction — and DEATH! Man has WRITTEN that lesson in human anguish, but HAS NOT YET LEARNED IT! God is going to PROVE, once and for all time, that only His WAY and HIS GOVERNMENT can produce PEACE and HAPPINESS and things GOOD! Now, for those predestinated and CALLED, and DRAWN to Christ by the Father, the Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures PUTTING SIN OUT OF OUR LIVES. Leaven puffs up, as does vanity and sin. It is a type of sin — not wrong in itself, but putting all leaven out of our dwellings for seven days pictures putting the “GET” way out of our lives — turning from “GET” to “GIVE.” This is the BEGINING OF BUILDING INTO OUR LIVES HOLY, RIGHTEOUS, PERFECT, GODLY CHARACTER. Seven is the number that denotes COMPLETENESS. So it means complete change. Also, it begins the 15th day of God’s sacred year, first month, NISAN, the anniversary of the day the Israelites started out of Egypt BY NIGHT. Egypt also is a type of SIN. The first of these days and the seventh are annual HOLY Sabbaths. III – The THIRD annual Festival is PENTECOST, so called because of its use in Acts 2:1. It MEANS “count 50.” This one Feast God leaves it to us to COUNT for ourselves, beginning WITH the morrow after the Sabbath during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. Forty-eight years ago I checked with every translation into English of the Bible, and every translation of that time said count 50 FROM the Sunday following the weekly Sabbath during the seven-day Festival. Then we discovered — and I forced men on the committee that translated the Revised Standard Version to admit — that it is a misleading translation to those who speak only English and are not familiar with Hebrew usage — that it should be translated “on” or “beginning on.” Originally this Feast was called Feast of Firstfruits, because it portrayed the very FIRST spiritual harvest of God’s begotten children. All seven festivals were based on the annual MATERIAL harvest in the”Holy Land.” There were the two harvests yearly — the first the early grain harvest, early summer; the main harvest being the fall harvest, with four festivals coming in the seventh month of the sacred calendar. Thus, the annual festivals use the MATERIAL harvest to picture the SPIRITUAL.

FIRST group to receive Holy Spirit

REMEMBER, Adam cut mankind off from God. Man must have CONTACT WITH GOD THE FATHER to receive the Holy Spirit. The “tree of life” in the Garden of Eden meant God freely offered Adam — and his children, who form humanity — the Holy Spirit, but Adam had to make a CHOICE between that and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life represented God’s Holy Spirit and the “GIVE” way of life. The other tree represented Satan’s “GET” way of life. Adam chose, for the human race, the “GET” way. Then God drove MAN (representing humanity) from the Garden of Eden, “lest he . . . take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever(Gen. 3:22). True, God Himself gave Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the prophets His Spirit for SPECIAL PURPOSES and to enable them to do THE WORK He assigned to them — of His own choosing. Otherwise none can come to the Father but through CHRIST. And Jesus said plainly,”NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, EXCEPT THE FATHER WHICH HATH SENT ME DRAW HIM”(John 6:44). It is PLAIN, then, that spiritual salvation was CLOSED to all humanity, except those I have mentioned, until after Christ’s ascension to heaven. Jesus had said to His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion: “But now I go my way to him that sent me … It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter [Holy Spirit] will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:5-7). It was on the day of Pentecost, 50 days after Passover week, that the Holy Spirit CAME and entered into those of the CHURCH — numbering 120. It was the FIRST TIME there was any spiritual GROUP salvation. It was the day the CHURCH OF GOD was begotten. Three thousand more were ADDED. These were those God had CALLED — had been predestinated to be called THEN and not in the Millennium, when EVERYBODY LIVING will be called. On that day Peter, now inspired by the Holy Spirit, said, “For the PROMISE [of the Holy Spirit] is unto you, and to your children . . . even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). And in verse 47, “And THE LORD added to the church daily such as should be saved.” The apostles did not go out soliciting converts — God CALLED them — it was GOD and not the apostles who ADDED to the Church. A day or two later 2,000 more were added. Then for a VERY short while the Church membership MULTIPLIED. But soon the persecution SCATTERED the converts, and the growth apparently diminished. Soon the true Gospel was SUPPRESSED. It’s possible the Church membership is the LARGEST today it has ever been. For THE PURPOSE of the Church is: 1) To stand back of the apostles in prayers, tithes and offerings in getting the GOSPEL ANNOUNCED to theWORLD — and it’s a BIGGER WORLD to be reached today. 2) To DEVELOP HOLY, RIGHTEOUSAND PERFECT CHARACTER in those called and to sit with Christ on His throne when He comes to rule the world and to be given power to RULE the WORLD. So REALIZE THIS! Pentecost is to remind us every year that we (the Church) are only the FIRST small harvest of God’s calling people for salvation OUT OF A WORLD THAT IS WHOLLY, except for us, CUT OFF FROM GOD, AND THAT HAS BEEN SINCE ADAM! The WORLD as a whole is still CUT OFF! We are those who have been PREDESTINATED to be called NOW! We have been called to receive the HOLY SPIRIT. WHAT IS the Holy Spirit? It is that second Spirit man needs to go with the human spirit in every human. It is the impregnation of GOD life, which makes us His CHILDREN NOW, even though only begotten and not yet BORN — HEIRS, not yet INHERITORS — begotten into the GOD FAMILY. It is the Spirit of UNDERSTANDING, imparting to the physical brain SPIRITUAL INTELLECT, ability to comprehend SPIRITUAL knowledge. It is the LOVE of God placed within us — divine LOVE. It is the FAITH of CHRIST, the same FAITH with which Jesus performed His miracles, now given to us — placed within us. It is also spiritual POWER to overcome. The spiritual POWER to help us turn from and resist the “GET” way and turn to the “GIVE” way. It is the POWER by which we may develop the HOLY, RIGHTEOUS, PERFECT CHARACTER, which is GOD’S PURPOSE for having PUT humanity on the earth — that GOD MAY THUS REPRODUCE HIMSELF! IV – First of the AUTUMN festivals is the FEAST OF TRUMPETS, on the first day of the seventh month, sacred calendar. This represents the COMING OF CHRIST IN SUPREME ALMIGHTY POWER AND GLORY to set up the KINGDOM OF GOD, to RESTORE THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD. V  – The fifth Festival is another one-day HOLY DAY — the FAST day — picturing the putting away of SATAN, since his Successor has not only QUALIFIED (more than 1,900 years ago), but now is INDUCTED INTO OFFICE. AT LAST the world is rid of Satan — at ONE with God. VI – On the 15th day of the seventh month begins the FEAST OF TABERNACLES — the MILLENNIUM — the time of the physical FALL HARVEST in Jerusalem and environs and the time when ALL THEN LIVING SHALL BE CALLED and given the chance to repent, believe and receive salvation. This Feast lasts SEVEN DAYS, with the first day an annual Sabbath. VII  – This is followed, the very next day, by a HOLY DAY, picturing the GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT — the time when ALL who ever lived and were not CALLED shall be RESURRECTED MORTAL, just as they were — human flesh and blood. They will be able to see and KNOW the results of the 6,000 years of the “GET” way of man, cut off from God, as well as the 1,000 years of the “GIVE” way under Christ. Then will every one be “CALLED” — given opportunity to REPENT and BELIEVE and receive the Holy Spirit and eternal life in the KINGDOM OF GOD! That concludes the Festivals of God. They vividly picture His MASTER PLAN. All that remains will be the resurrection of those who WERE CALLED but, like Lucifer, rejected the call and the KINGDOM OF GOD! They shall go into the LAKE OF FIRE — the second death for each — to become ashes under the soles of our feet and all memory of them blotted from our minds. On beyond this, we, the GOD FAMILY, BILLIONS of us, all of us possessing HOLY, RIGHTEOUS AND PERFECT CHARACTER, all of us UNABLE TO SIN, shall then go on and COMPLETE THE BEAUTIFICATION AND CREATION OF THE ENTIRE VAST UNIVERSE, constantly looking forward in joyous anticipation and ecstasy to still GREATER and more marvelous and awesome things to do throughout the whole endless UNIVERSE — always looking back on supreme and glorious accomplishments that only an ALMIGHTY GOD could do! And THAT is the awesome human POTENTIAL!]]>

Pentecost in God's Master Plan  

Pentecost in God’s Master Plan   By Jerold W. Aust The Good News, May 1985   Pentecost, the Feast of Firstfruits, one of God’s seven annual Holy Days, pictures an important step in God’s master plan of salvation! This Holy Day helps explain the different times when salvation will be offered to different segments of mankind.   God’s two harvests   God’s annual Holy Days are laid out according to the seasons in Palestine. And God uses two harvests of Palestine to symbolize His two separate harvests of all human lives. The earlier, much smaller harvest begins with Pentecost, and the latter, much larger harvest begins with the Feast of Tabernacles and ends with the Last Great Day. You need to be concerned with this earlier harvest. It is being planted right now. We’ll use one of Jesus’ parables to help explain: “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way’ ” (Matthew 13:24-25). In this parable Jesus likens God’s plan of salvation to a physical harvest of grain or wheat. “His disciples came to Him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.’ He answered and said to them: ‘He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age’ ” (verses 36-40). God is in the process of planting good seed now. He is calling thousands through this work that is presently being done through the Worldwide Church of God. And thousands are responding to that calling. He may be planting in you. But Satan is not idle. He, too, is planting his tares among the wheat in God’s field — this world. It’s critical to determine whether we are wheat or tares. Tares look like wheat. A tare is shaped like a wheat stock and head, but its content is dwarfed at best or nonexistent. When tares sprout with wheat, they look similar. Even after they are both grown, from a short distance it is difficult to distinguish between them. But to the discerning eye, the difference is obvious. God always knows the difference between his “wheat” and the “tares” of Satan’s world. God’s people are known by their good fruits (Matthew 7:16, 20).   Many called, but few chosen   Jesus Christ said that many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). God’s earlier, smaller harvest will be made up of the relatively few people who are truly submitting to God today. The vast majority of people who have ever lived will have their chance for salvation during the Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment, symbolized by the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. This will be the great fall harvest. To most of the world, the day of Pentecost remains a mystery. But you are being given the chance to understand now. This day of Pentecost represents your turn in God’s master plan of harvesting all human lives. You, too, can help declare to a blinded world the truth of God. Notice the fantastic meaning the day of Pentecost has for those called now: “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they [of the early harvest, symbolized by Pentecost today] shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6). The amazing meaning of Pentecost is now revealed to you. What is your next move going to be?   [Photo Caption — Wheat (left) and tares (right). God’s wheat will be revealed at Christ’s return.]  ]]>

A Pentecost Message

The Holy Spirit – A Pentecost Message

By Herbert W Armstrong

6 June 1981

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Source – The Holy Spirit – Herbert W Armstrong

Greetings, everybody! It’s nice to be back here again. Tomorrow will be the annual holy day of Pentecost. I will be off to Stockton tomorrow, so I cannot be with you; and I have to bring any Pentecost message I have today. You know, most churches pay no attention to Pentecost. I remember as a boy growing up in a Protestant church … The Quaker church it really was. There are several kinds of Quaker churches, by the way. The original old-fashion type where I understand they’d twiddle their thumbs; they’d wait for the spirit to move them. I was not brought up in that type of a church at all. Ours was more like the Methodist or Baptist church of today in the Protestant world — not much difference, and believing a good deal the same type of doctrine. But I remember, as a boy, hearing the preacher talk about Pentecost. That was a strange word to me. I had no idea what it meant and you know what I think now? I think the congregation of the church, of the grown ups, didn’t know any more than I did of what it meant. It didn’t really mean anything to them. Tomorrow is the day that we call Pentecost. Really it begins now in just a few hours from now, at sunset this evening. It’s been called Pentecost in the New Testament. Originally, it was called the feast of firstfruits; and it also is called the feast of weeks in the Old Testament. It means nothing to most people. Well, it should because it is the day on which the Church was founded. And, beginning at sunset tonight, is the 1950th anniversary of the Church of God — one time cycle plus 50 years exactly, precisely (beginning tonight at sunset). I prefer to call it an anniversary, rather than a birthday, because we don’t celebrate birthdays. But it is an anniversary! Now, the word “church” comes from the Greek word “ecclesia.” It means not only a crowd or a group. Of course, the church of Luther merely means Luther’s crowd or Luther’s group. The Church of God means the people of God. “Congregation” means the same precisely as the word “church.” It has the same meaning. It’s a group of people. But, in the Old Testament, we have the congregation of Israel. They were the firstborn children of Israel. We are the Church of God, and we are the spirit-begotten Church of God. We are already now the children of God because, if the have the Spirit of God, His Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are the children of God. As you read in I John 3: I John 3: 2 [Behold, already] now are we the [children] of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be. In other words, what we shall be is not visible so we can appear as yet — not until the time of the resurrection at the coming of Christ and the time we will be born as God beings, actually. But the word “ecclesia” also means “called out ones,” and it means we’re called out from the world. Now, WHY? What’s wrong with the world? Why should we be called out from the world? Now, Pentecost has a (well, I’d say, a) terrific meaning; but it’s been glossed over. The world hasn’t recognized it. The churches have not recognized it. Of course, science ignores anything like that altogether — and modern education, government, business and industry, technology, all of the other facets of society in the modern civilization.

WHY OBSERVE PENTECOST? (PLAY FROM 4:50)

Why do we observe this day that is called Pentecost? Why is Pentecost called by these different names? Why is the name “Pentecost” in the New Testament, “firstfruits” in the Old, and “feast of weeks”? I’ll give you a hurried explanation of that, but it will be made plain as I go through. I’d like to, if I can remember it, come back to it before I close later. It’s called Pentecost because you count 50. You count 50 from, or beginning on, the [Lev. 23:15, morrow after the] Sabbath in the midst of the Days of Unleavened Bread. That is the day of the wave sheaf, and the wave sheaf typified the risen Christ. So 50 days from the risen Christ, the Holy Spirit came; and the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. So you count 50. “Pente” means 50 in the Greek language, and “cost” is count; so it’s “50 count.” The feast of firstfruits means that the Church is the firstfruits of God’s salvation. Almost no one has ever understood that! I have to go through the sermon before you’ll understand that. It is also called the feast of weeks. Why? Because it is … seven is God’s number of completeness. The 7th day is the Sabbath unto the Lord our God. The 7th millennium will be the Day of the Lord, just like the Sabbath is also the weekly day of the Lord. Therefore, Christ is Lord of the Sabbath. So it is His day. You count exactly 7 weeks beginning on the particular day — “morrow after the Sabbath” or a Sunday — the day of the wave sheaf during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So that is why it is called those three names.

THIS PRESENT WORLD (PLAY FROM 6:57)

But why is it important, and why should we come out of the world? What is wrong with the world? Well, as we look into the world, we see the world has produced some very awesome accomplishments. I’ve often said that (speaking of the politicians and of a, well, a great writer or an author and a great financier or capitalist) if a Lincoln, or an Emerson, or a Vanderbilt could come back to life, they would be AWESTRUCK at the things they would see that have been accomplished! You know that even the very fact that, if we just had it going out on the air on a station, you could see and hear me — and see me and hear me all over the city right now — if we were on the air. In fact, on my television at home, if anyone happens to be listening over there (though they should be here instead), they’re seeing me and hearing me right there in my home. Television, radio — awesome things, when you think of it! The picture and the sound are right there. It’s right there in my room at home, in one room. Many sounds are in this room here that you don’t hear because your ear isn’t tuned into that wavelength. Those are marvelous things — sending men to the moon and back, the modern computer, the automobile, the motion picture, sending unmanned spacecraft to get us close-ups of the surface of Mars and close-ups of Saturn and Jupiter. Why I tell you, anyone who died in the 19th century coming back to life today would be awestruck with those things; but also they would be HORRIFIED to see the changes that have taken place morally, spiritually, and in troubles, in woes and human suffering, in violence, in every evil that has beset humanity. They would be perplexed. What has caused all of this? We didn’t have that kind of evil a century ago. Nothing like it! And yet we are called out of this world. It was bad enough then. It’s just a lot worse today. So this world — if you take our Western world, if you take the developed world (and you can include Japan with that) — you find a great development of technology, of industry, and of education. On the other hand, you also find unhappiness. You find human discontent. I tell you, I remember when I was a boy around the turn of the century, in the early 1900s before 1910. (1902, 1903, 1905 — which I remember very well because I was a growing boy at that time, approaching my teens.) Now I had an uncle who lived down on the farm, away from Des Moines, Iowa where I was born and raised. Of course, I was supposed to have been raised in the city. It wasn’t a very big city, but we thought of it as a city. And you know, the farmers (not only my uncle, but other farmers), they didn’t have tractors yet at that time. They would be plowing behind a horse. But they would be singing at the top of their voice. They’d come in, “Well hi,” they’d say to their wife; and it was all jolly and cheerful. Everybody was happy. They had a smile. Today you have to buy a Coke to have a smile. [Audience laughs.] So that’s their slogan. It seems like nobody smiles any more today. I think that Bob Hope will tell you that the one good thing he’s done for the world is made them smile and laugh. There isn’t much laughter any more today. Well, I just got you laughing a little bit. That’s a good thing once in a while. We need to have a lot of good cheer and that kind of thing. It seems like it’s almost gone from the world today. But now you get other parts of the world — China, India, many parts of Africa — and you find illiteracy. You don’t find education. And you find near starvation. You find people living in filth and squalor. You find absolute poverty, people starving to death. Such things ought not to be. There’s no need for things like that. No need at all! It’s all wrong! There is something wrong in this world.

UNDERSTANDING THE BEGINNING (PLAY FROM 12:14)

And this is a world, because it is wrong, the Church is called out of this world. We need to understand why. We need to understand the beginnings of this world. What started this world on the wrong track? What started the Church? Why did Christ say, “I will build My Church”? And how did He build it, and why? Why are we in it today? And why are we here today? We need to understand. Most people just go along. It gets to be the fashionable thing. I talked to one woman, who had been a Church member. She dropped out. I said, “Tell me, do you honestly think you were ever really converted — did you receive the Holy Spirit of God?” She said, “No.” She said, “When I was in college, the other students were all being converted; and I just wanted to go along. I thought it was the thing to do. So I got soused in water, and they called it being baptized.” But God, apparently, had not called her. Actually, she never was a member. She was just counted as one. We can’t understand, brethren, all of this if we don’t go back to the beginning. Now you get to the beginning; and there again is something that humanity, and civilization, and the Church has just glossed over. They have just passed over it. It has not meant anything to them at all, and you have to go back and understand it. Now before mankind inhabited the earth; (and it began with the creation of the first man, Adam; and God created his wife, Eve); but before man there were angels on the earth. God placed them here. The angels sinned; and we find that they were led into that sin by a super archangel, Lucifer. Now Lucifer was placed on a throne on the earth. I’ve gone into all of that before. We don’t need to read the scriptures (in the 14th chapter of Isaiah and the 28th chapter of Ezekiel), and how the angels sinned (in II Peter 2 verse 4), and so on; but they did. A throne was set on the earth. God set the throne there; and He set this super archangel, who was a cherub, Lucifer, on the throne to administer the government of God. Now the government of God had been administered from the throne of God in heaven. That is God’s heaven. There are three heavens mentioned in the Bible. The one is the earth’s atmosphere, where the birds fly and where some of us fly in airplanes. The second heaven is what we call outer space, on beyond. But the third heaven may not even be as far as outer space. We don’t know because we don’t know where it is, except I think we have one time that it’s in the far, far north. But that is the throne of God. That is not necessarily a planet at all. God is invisible to us. We wouldn’t see if we could see that throne, because God is Spirit; and we can’t see Spirit, unless it is especially manifested in some manner so that our physical human eyes can see it. But there was the government of God; and the super archangel, Lucifer, was one of the two cherubs whose wings stretched out over the very throne of God. He had been trained at the very throne of God, in the government of God; and he was sent here to administer that government. Now God had created angels, and they are spirit beings.

THE CREATOR’S LAW (PLAY FROM 15:55)

First of all, God is Creator. But what is God creating? What is the ultimate thing that God is creating? Sure, He’s created beings. He created angels. He created men. But those are only certain entities. But there is something greater He’s creating, and that is righteous perfect spiritual character IN those created entities that God has created. Now, the way to that character and the way of any government — any government is based on a foundation, constitution, or law. In the United States government, it is based on the Constitution. We know that. ALL LAWS have to conform, or be based on, that basic law or constitution. God’s basic law is love (L-O-V-E.), and love is out flowing towards others. Now love is first of all to God; and God is love, and God has love out flowing towards us. But we must return His love — in love and in obedience, and letting God direct and help and give to us. The second is love towards your fellow beings. (Now, in this case, it was love towards the angels.) That is the basis of God’s law. It isn’t a lot of just separate, ah, little specific laws. You know, we have so many laws that any policeman could not remember one-sixth of all the laws he’s supposed to enforce on his beat. But God’s law is just simply one word, and it’s magnified into two: love towards God and your fellow — the two great commandments. Now towards man, it’s been codified in the Ten Commandments. The first four are toward God, and the last six tell you how to love man. But they are just broad principles, and you apply those principles! Now we derive all of our doctrines from God, and they come from the law of God. We have a ‘no smoking’ doctrine in the Church. You can’t find anything about that in the Bible, but it comes from applying the spirit — or the principle — of the law of God of out flowing concern for others equally as concern for yourself. Now actually, except for the stink of it in your nostrils, the smell (because you can’t taste smoke anyway) … A lot of people don’t know that. You might try an experiment sometime, and you’d find you can’t taste smoke. You smell it. So instead of saying it tastes better, like the cigarette manufactures do, they should say it stinks worse! [Laughter] I guess that’s what they should say. But God has a basic law to create happiness, to create cooperation and peace and mutual well-being between one another and in relation to God. Now this Lucifer rebelled and led his angels. {1} (They inhabited the earth before man.) As a result, the earth became without form and void. Or the Hebrew words are tohu and bohu, and a better translation then … Well, it really means it became, what’s the word I want? Not decadent; well, anyway, in six days God renewed the face of the earth for man. The seven days that you find in the first chapter — or the six days in the first chapter — of Genesis were renewing the face of the earth actually, beginning with verse 2. Anyway, we won’t need to go back into that today.

GOD AND THE WORD (PLAY FROM 20:12)

But go back to the beginning — the beginning of God Himself, in John 1:1. I’ve gone into this a number of times. Let me just read it once more. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word [That is a personage called the Word. He was the spokesman. {2}], and the Word was with God [God is another person. There were two persons, and one person called the Word was with another person called God], and the Word was God [The Word also is God.]. Now you could say that John is with Smith. But John is also Smith, and John is [with] Smith. Well, you see, Smith is John’s father; and John is the son of Smith, so he is also Smith. Of course, now, the Word was not at that time the Son of God but did become that later. John 1:2-3 The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him [because, in Ephesians 3 … ] Now in the 14th verse {3}, we find: John 1:14 The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us [and became Jesus Christ]. And in Ephesians 3 verse 9: Ephesians 3:9 God … created all things by Jesus Christ. He is the Word. He said, “I have done, I have spoken, nothing of Myself, the Father who sent Me has told Me what I should speak and what I should say;” and the Father told Him. He is the Word. He spoke. The Holy Spirit is the power that did it, and that’s the way creation was accomplished. John 1:4 In him [the Word] was life [L-I-F-E, Life.] In God was Life. In the Word was Life. And “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,” and “all things were made by him,” and He spoke only as the Father told Him. So They are absolutely together. Another time, when Jesus Christ was on earth, He said “My Father and I are one.” “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” They were 100% together. Two can’t walk together except they be agreed. The Word and God were in perfect agreement. Jesus agreed perfectly with His Father. He agreed perfectly with His Father. Now, the Word had Life; and He gave Life and imparted Life to the angels. They had Life. That is, Life inherent — immortal Life, eternal Life within themselves, self-contained Life. He sent them here to accomplish things on the earth; but they had to get along with one another, and God’s law regulated their conduct with one another and with God. But it resulted in rebellion, and they followed Lucifer in rebellion. And so the government of God, which was established on earth (by a throne on the earth by Lucifer), became non-existent. It was no longer enforced, and the government of God was now no longer in force on earth. So here’s an earth without government. Now God is the Creator and primarily what He is creating is character. He gave His law, which is the foundation of building that character, to the angels. They did not build that kind of character. So Lucifer, the great archangel, later became Satan the devil; and his name was changed to Satan. His angels now became demons. They had perverted in mind. They had mind greater than the human mind. They were spirit beings. They were immortal. They had LIFE, and now they have to LIVE that life FOREVER — in unhappiness, in mental torture.

MAN MADE AFTER THE GOD KIND (PLAY FROM 24:11)

Now God said He would now reproduce Himself out of man, made out of matter. Now He said, “I will create man in My own image.” You turn back to Genesis 1, and you read in the first chapter: Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Here the word for “God” that Moses used in the Hebrew language, in which he originally wrote, was “Elohim;” and Elohim is a uni-plural noun. {4} It means more than one person. In other words, “God” now meant the two persons of God and the Word. But how did God create? By the Word! The Word spoke, and it was done. Later you find Him renewing the face of the earth. The Spirit of God moved on the waters, second verse. {5} The earth had become, ah … What’s the word I want? I couldn’t think of it a minute ago. Well, chaotic and in confusion. Now God was renewing it. So the Word SPOKE and it was done. The Spirit was there to move; and He said, “Let there be light,” because darkness had come from Satan. He had turned light and truth into darkness and error, and now it became light. Then He proceeded to divide the land from the water. It was all an ocean surface at the time, and so He brought out the dry land. In six days He renewed the surface of the earth for man. In the 26th verse … after, in the 24th and 25th verses, He had created on the 6th day — the latter part of the 6th day — He had created land animals, each after his kind (cattle after the cattle kind). Well, of course, that means dog after the dog kind and horses after the horse kind. But then He said: Genesis 1:26 Let US [not “Me” Verse 26, “Let us” — more than one person.] make man after OUR [kind], after OUR likeness. In other words, let Us make Man after Our kind. Cattle were after the cattle kind, elephants after the elephant kind; whales after the whale kind, and dolphins after the dolphin kind, birds after each bird kind. But man was made AFTER THE GOD KIND because now God was going to take man and reproduce His own self and put His own holy, righteous, perfect, spiritual character into man. What an accomplishment!

MAN, A MORTAL SOUL (PLAY FROM 26:54)

All right, so He made man; but how did He make man? He had made the angels immortal. He’d given them Life. He did not give man Life. Now the Word, in Him was Life. He had Life. But notice He didn’t give man Life. The second chapter and verse 7: Genesis 2:7 And the [Eternal] God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man [made from the dust of the ground] became a living soul. Not an immortal soul! What was made of the dust of the ground became a soul. A soul is made from the dust of the ground and is mortal. It’s material, not spiritual at all. Man himself is wholly matter. He does not have Life. He has a physio-chemical existence. He breathes into his nostrils the breath of life, and man gets his life from breathing air into and out of his lungs. The lungs oxidize the blood as it circulates through the lungs and back to the heart. The breath is called “the breath of life” — all, the only kind of life, we have; and it isn’t really Life. It’s a temporary existence. That’s all. Every breath you breathe is just one more, but constantly you are like a wound up clock running down. Some run down the first breath or two of life, and die in childbirth. Some live. I had a sister who lived until she was 9-years-old, and she died. Now, I was her brother; and here I am almost in my 90th year (next month); and I’m still existing. But that’s all. It’s an existence. I have Life in myself, but not Life inherent. I’ll come to that later. I hope you have that same Life in you too. But there was no Life. God did not put Life into the man, as He did in the angels. He gave him a chemical existence. Now remember that. Man did not have Life. He has a chemical existence. The angels had Life, and then they were tested as to whether they would live the way that would produce happiness, and joy, and production, and accomplishment in happiness. But they didn’t. They went the selfish, self-centered way. God is going to give man an opportunity, but man will have to demonstrate and build the character first — before he gets Life; and God did not make man with Life. He only made him with a temporary existence, and he is wholly of the ground. Do you know that there is energy in the ground? We’ve had an energy crisis; we’ve talked a lot about it. Now we are beginning to find that there is so much gas and other things in the ground that, if we had only known it, we wouldn’t have had an energy crisis; but we just haven’t worked at it and produced those things. Now we have to depend on the oil countries, and they hold that as a club over us in the United States. But all the energy that we have is only what energy we get temporarily from food and water, and it comes out of the ground. Now I know there are some foods, and they advertise, that will give your children energy. Yes, it will; and it will give them a lot of other things you don’t want too — starches, and things of that kind, because starch will give you energy. But your blood can only take ½ of 1% of … I forget whether its weight or its volume in carbohydrates or energy; and anything more than that goes into rheumatism, or colds, or fever, or diseases of some kind. That’s why we have all of those fevers, and diseases, and all that sort of thing. But now, God did not give the man Life. I want you to notice. In verse 7, He gave him this chemical temporary existence. In verse 8: Genesis 2:8-9 The [Eternal] God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. (9) Out of the ground made the [Eternal] God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight. Now God is love, and He wanted to make everything pleasant to the man. He didn’t try to make things unhappy and unpleasant. He wanted the man to enjoy beautiful things through the sense of sight, pleasant to the eye — to the sight, that’s one of the senses.

ADAM’S DECISION (PLAY FROM 31:50)

Genesis 2:9 … and good for food [And that’s one of the senses: taste.], the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Now then, God had put the man in the garden of Eden, and God said: Genesis 2:16-17 Of every tree of the garden [verse 16] thou mayest freely eat: (17) But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Here are two trees; and they are opposite, and they represent opposites. Now right at this point, let me tell you, here is where all of Christianity jumps the track right at the beginning. They gloss right over that. That means nothing to the average person. “Ah, yeah, I know about the garden of Eden. I’ve heard all of this about Adam’s apple.” Well, let me tell you something. Adam didn’t take an apple. It says nothing about an apple here. What he took to himself was the knowledge of good and evil. He took to HIMSELF knowledge production. That’s what he took. Now the one tree was the Tree of Life. In the Word was Life. He gave Life to the angels. He did not give Life to men. But here He’s offering Life to the first man, and said “You may freely have it.” But He said, “I command you not to take death,” because the other tree would result in death. Now, how would it result in death? I’ll come to that later. The first tree would result in Life. The first tree would result in Life, and God offered that to him. God WANTED him to have Life; but, to have it he had to reject the other tree; didn’t he? He couldn’t take both. He had to decide. He had to make a choice! Oh, how we have passed right over this. Brethren, let me tell you, right here — the lives, the happiness or lack of it, of billions and billions of people depended right on this decision that this first human was going to make. We are all his children. We came from him. Now he had a number of children, sons and daughters. A lot of people, you know, they have a joke; and they say “Well, where did Cain get his wife?” Well, he married his sister, of course. At that time, some way or other, it was all right for him to marry his sister. {6} Today … Well, I knew of one child that was born from a brother and a sister; but he was abnormal. I remember he liked to play pranks. He would go into a grocery store. He was a little bit of a kid, and he would say, “I want to make a telephone call.” They would have to bring a chair that he could stand on, so he could reach up to a telephone that was on a wall. Then he would call for the Fire Department, and he would say there was a fire and give an address so that the fire trucks had to go pass this store to get there. Then he’d go out front and wait to see the fire trucks go by. Now that’s a prank for you, for a kid. I was writing an editorial for a newspaper years ago when that happened, and I knew about it. So there was something a little abnormal about it, but a brother and sister could have children; and, in this case, they did.

RESULT OF TWO OPPOSITE TREES (PLAY FROM 35:19)

Now the meaning of those two trees, that’s been just glossed right over. You know, we’ve even glossed over it ourselves. When Basil Wolverton wrote the book for children years ago (of course, it had to be years ago; before he died.), Basil was very careful to try to write that book precisely according to our teaching. I’ve been amazed in going back to it, and seeing what he was teaching children about those two trees. He didn’t even mention the Tree of Life at all. He just said that the only thing wrong about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was that God told him not to eat it (and he didn’t give any reason) and that God said he would die if he disobeyed. Now God didn’t just say this arbitrarily because “If you disobey Me, if you don’t jump at the crack of My whip, I’m going to kill you and you are going to die.” No, there has to be a reason. God says only what’s good for the man. It wasn’t good for the man that he’d take of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was good for the man if he’d take of the Tree of Life, and that’s what God wanted him to do. So we have to get a little bit of the meaning of those two trees. Now the one was the Tree of Life. He would have received Life if he had taken that. Let’s go back and consider that. Let’s not cloak over that Tree of Life. WHAT IF ADAM HAD TAKEN THE TREE OF LIFE? Brethren, we wouldn’t even have a Church today. We wouldn’t have a Day of Pentecost. We wouldn’t have troubles in the world today. THIS WHOLE WORLD WOULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT! Right there’s where the whole thing happened. Remember Satan was still there. Now he’s Satan, no longer Lucifer; but he’s still there. He didn’t get to Adam directly, but he did get to him through his wife. Now one of those trees was Life. The other was going to result in death. How would the first tree give Adam Life? It would result in that. It didn’t mean that God would have given him immortal Life immediately. He’d done that to the angels. He created them that way. He didn’t create Adam that way. Why? How does He give Life today? WE have a chance to receive Life today. How do we get Life? Now, to understand, everything isn’t made plain in one place in the Bible. It’s like a crossword … like a jigsaw puzzle (not a crossword puzzle, a jigsaw puzzle), you have maybe 1,000 different pieces here; and no one of them makes sense at all. Two or three of them put together don’t make real sense. You have to get more than that. But, if you get them all together in the right manner (together the way they belong together), then you have a beautiful picture. In fact, it is a beautiful picture, just cut by a jigsaw here and there into a lot of little pieces; and you have to put them together. The Bible is like that. Some of the things in Genesis you have to find filled in — in the New Testament, or in the prophets, in Isaiah, some in Revelation, some in Ezekiel, some in the minor prophets, some in Matthew, Mark, or Luke, or John. You have to get a piece here and a piece there, and put them together in a proper way; and I’m putting something together for you here that even this Church has never had put together properly before. So OPEN UP YOUR EARS AND LISTEN! Who was it (Mark Anthony?) who said many hundreds of years ago: “Ladies and gentlemen, give me your ear.” I ask you, not only open your ears, open up your mind. Think on this. This is something that is new to this Church. It is something you need to understand.

IMPREGNATION OF IMMORTAL LIFE (PLAY FROM 39:08)

God does not give Life, and He was not going to give man Life inherent instantaneously. If He was, He could have created the man that way in the first place; couldn’t He? That’s the way He created angels. Why did God create man without it, and then let him make a choice? How does God give Life now? How does He? Man did not have Life. Let’s look at the New Testament, and we’ll see how God gives Life today. Turn over to the 8th chapter of Romans. Now you’ll notice verse 16. Romans 8:16 The [Holy Spirit of God] beareth witness with our spirit So there is a spirit in man. We have a spirit, and yet man is wholly mortal. I’m coming to that a little bit later. We are wholly mortal, but there is a spirit in us. That spirit is not part of us, just something in us. {7} A man swallows a little tiny marble. That marble is not part of him; and we hope that it will pass through, or that the doctor will get it out someway because it doesn’t belong there. But there is a spirit in man, and it does belong there. That’s different. But, if you receive the {8} Spirit of God … On the Day of Pentecost, Peter said: Acts 2:38 Repent, and be baptized in {9} Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” [and that meant you repent and believe, and your baptism is a public demonstration of your faith and belief], and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now, if you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit: Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. We become the children of God when we have the Holy Spirit. We aren’t immortal. We’re still mortal flesh and blood. We still have a temporary existence. But the Spirit is an impregnation of immortal Life. That’s all. We are begotten, not yet born. Notice the very next verse here: Romans 8:17 And if [we are] children, then heirs: heirs of God, and … [of] Christ.Children of God” and His heirs (of our Father). But, you see, an heir doesn’t get his father’s estate until there is a death, usually in human life the death of the father. In this case, it was the death of Christ; and it really comes after our death or change (which is an instant death) and resurrection. But we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” if we have the Spirit of God. Now then, notice verse 11. Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [that is make immortal, give Life to] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. That shows a resurrection. Now, if you have not the Spirit of God, (verse 9) you are none of His. You are not a Christian. I don’t care how many churches you have your name on, as a member. Just being a member doesn’t mean you’re Christ’s. You are not Christ’s unless you have the Holy Spirit.

HOW KNOWLEDGE IS RECEIVED (PLAY FROM 42:24)

Now if you have the Holy Spirit, let’s go a little bit further now, in I Corinthians the 2nd chapter, now notice this. As man is made mortal: I Corinthians 2:9-10 As it is written, [As God made man, of the dust of the ground.] Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. [In other words, spiritual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge can’t enter your mind.] (10) But God hath revealed them [spiritual truth, spiritual knowledge]unto us by his spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. You can only receive spiritual knowledge through the Spirit of God. Man receives the knowledge of things through the eye, the ear, the sense of smell, taste and feel. You cannot receive knowledge of anything, normally, any other way — just those five ways, five senses. No other. Now stop and think about that. You are LIMITED, and you can only see what is material or physical. You can only hear vibration, which is physical. You can only smell something that is physical, as a physical fragrance or odor. You can only taste physical things. It is a physical sense. You can only hear, smell, taste anything. In other words, no knowledge can ever enter your mind except through the eye, the ear, the nose, the sense of taste, or the sense of feel; and you are LIMITED to physical materialistic knowledge. You are limited; and God created Adam in a manner that he was limited to physical materialistic knowledge, and he could not have other knowledge. Now let me just give you one other thing while I’m on it, right there. Look at the wonderful things man has created. They are all physical and materialistic. Look at the troubles of man, and every bit of them are getting along with his neighbor or with God; and he can’t get along with God because the carnal mind is hostile against God — “enmity against God” (Romans 8, verse 7) and “is not subject to the law of God [which is love], neither indeed can be.” A natural mind is hostile against God. A natural mind is self-centered. It’s covetous. It wants everything for self. Towards others, it is competitive. It’s hostile. It wants to get from. It wants to take. In other words, it believes in “get;” where God is love, and love is out flowing, and that’s the way of GIVE (not “get”). The law of God is the way of give. The other way is the way of get. Now then, if we have the Spirit added, (I want you to notice.) God reveals spiritual knowledge. You can’t see … I Corinthians 2:9-10 Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard [You don’t get it through the eyes, the ears, or smell, or taste, or feel.] … (10) But [notice this.] God hath revealed [spiritual things] … by his Spirit. Now take verse 11, the next verse: I Corinthians 2:11 What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him. Man has a spirit in him. It’s not man. It’s not part of man. It’s just something inside of him, and it came in him with his first breath; but it is a spirit. Now that spirit in man can’t see anything. Your brain sees through the eye. Your brain hears through the ears. Your brain smells through the nose, and tastes through the mouth; and it feels through the sense of the nerves. So the spirit only imparts the power of intellectual to a physical brain.

HOW THE HUMAN SPIRIT WORKS (PLAY FROM 46:60)

Animals don’t have that spirit. They have an automatic instinct. Humans don’t have that instinct like animals do. Did you ever see a little calf born? Inside of two or three minutes, certainly less than five, it’s up on all four feet and knows how to walk right away; and it knows where to go. It goes for its dinner, and the old mother cow just stands there dumbly and stupidly waiting for the calf to come and get her dinner. In one case I happen to see on a movie screen where the calf went to the wrong end. The mother just nodded the calf right back to the right end to get its dinner. But usually the calf knows exactly where to go. A human baby can’t walk for one year. A human baby is helpless and has to be taught everything. A human baby has to learn how to think, and it is motivated by its mind. Animals don’t have mind. They just have a plain brain and instinct. The human spirit is a computer. All of the memory is stored up in the spirit, not in the gray matter of the brain. In a computer, you program knowledge into the computer. The computer cannot give you anything back that has not been programmed into it. But you can program millions of pieces of knowledge into a computer; and it will give you whatever you want back instantaneously, with instant recall. Now the spirit is like that in man. I can get … if someone asks me “What happened when you were five years old?” instantly, I go back; and the spirit gives me instant recall of things when I was five years old. I swore off of chewing tobacco when I was five years old. [Audience laughs.] Yeah, you won’t believe that. Well, I think a lot of you would because you’ve read my autobiography. But the men were digging a ditch out in front of our house, and they were all chewing tobacco. I said to one of them, “Well, what is that there?” I saw him biting something, and I thought maybe it was good to eat. He said, “Why, here bud, have a chaw. This is something good. I like it.” So I took a chaw. I had an awful time biting it off. I chewed a little bit, and then I swallowed it. [Audience roars with laughter.] Right then and there, I swore off of chewing tobacco; and I’ve never chewed any since. I was only five years old. Well now, the spirit in me gave me instant recall. Anytime I want to think about that, it’s still there. I mean the memory of it is still there. You die. The body that comes up in a resurrection is not the body that died. The brain is buried, and it rots and decays. Yet in the resurrection you know everything you did know. You look like you did look. Why? The spirit in man is like a mold. Now a, oh, the man who made the big fountain out in front here. I saw that fountain when it was made. I believe it was plaster-of-Paris, or whatever it was made of in the first place. Then they made molds of the various parts of it that were later welded together. I was in the foundry where that was done. The mold was just the same thing but exactly the opposite — so that, when they poured the molten bronze into the mold, it came out exactly like the original. Now the spirit is like a mold. In the resurrection, the spirit will bring a new body; but it will put in that new body precisely the same knowledge, the same memory, the same character, the same fingerprints, the same footprints that you had in this life. But it will be different matter. Of course, that’s the resurrection to judgment. But if you are resurrected in the first resurrection, you’ll be composed wholly of spirit but in the same identical form and shape — because man is in the form and shape of God, but he’s composed of different material.

REVEALED KNOWLEDGE (PLAY FROM 51:11)

Now man was made to have a relationship with God. There are two differences between man and an animal. An animal is not made to have a relationship with God. First, it is not in the form and shape of God. Secondly, it doesn’t have the spirit. God put a spirit in man, and that spirit needs another Spirit — the Holy Spirit. I just read you in Romans 8 where, when we receive the Spirit of God, it joins with our spirit; and it WITNESSES WITH OUR SPIRIT that we are the children of God. We are only half there if we have, we are born with, the one spirit. Every human who’s ever been born was born with that one spirit, but you are only half there mentally. I say that the most ignorant men in this world are the ones with the most letters after their names (the most highly educated) because ALL EDUCATION in this world is materialistic education. They have no spiritual knowledge at all; and all of our troubles, and our discontent, and all of the evils and sufferings come from a lack of spiritual knowledge and breaking spiritual laws towards self, towards neighbor, towards God — because the law of God is love to God and loving neighbor as self. It means the right kind of self-love and self-concern too, for that matter. So, if you have the Holy Spirit, now notice this: I Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man [I say, a man is confined to physical materialistic knowledge.], save the spirit of man which is in him? That spirit makes it possible for you to have this knowledge, and give you instant recall, and to be a thinking kind of a being. Animals are not. They can’t think. They can’t reason. They don’t come to conclusions. They can’t think creatively. Humans can. Humans have to learn slowly. A child begins to walk after about one year. But listen: Satan begins to get to a child when he’s 2 or 3, 5 or 6 months old; and parents neglect their children until they are about six years old and they can send them to school. Satan does not neglect your children! Satan gets after them when they are 2 or 3 months old, or less. By the time they are 6 or 8 months old, those children already have a selfish something instilled within them. Put two children down, and give them one toy. Watch them fight for it. Or put a number of toys down, and one desirable toy and others that aren’t so desirable; and watch them try to get the desirable toy away from the others. Oh, that instinct is in there early. Yet parents will neglect their children, while Satan is not neglecting them. I say shame on some of us. Well, let’s go on with this. I only read half of this 11th verse. I Corinthians 2:11 Even so the things of God [or spiritual knowledge] knoweth no man [No man has spiritual knowledge.], but the Spirit of God. Or through and by the Spirit of God, because spiritual knowledge is REVEALED KNOWLEDGE — revealed by the Holy Spirit being in your mind with your spirit; and you cannot comprehend spiritual knowledge, or the law of God, without the Holy Spirit. We wonder why the world can’t see these things. We wonder why, when we are converted, we try to convert our friends and relatives; and they laugh at us. They think we are crazy. I’ll show you why. Read verse 14. I Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man [That’s what they are.] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God [You try to give them those things, and they won’t receive them.]: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED. [God has to reveal them through His Spirit.]

WHAT ADAM WOULD HAVE RECEIVED (PLAY FROM 55:36)

Now, Adam would have received … The first thing he would have received … God wouldn’t have given him immortal Life right away. He would have given him the Spirit. He would have been begotten of God if he had have taken of the Tree of Life. That’s what he would have gotten first. The next thing he would have received would have been love — the love of God; because love is the fulfilling of the law, and the law is love. Now read Romans 5:5. Romans 5:5 The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which is given unto us. The Holy Spirit gives you the love of God to fulfill the law! You don’t have the love by natural birth to fulfill the law of God. You can fulfill it to some extent by the letter, but not in the spirit. You can’t do it without the Holy Spirit of God. Adam then would have first had knowledge — REVEALED KNOWLEDGE, a spiritual knowledge — if he had taken of the Tree of Life. The next thing he would have had was the love to fulfill the law of God plus he had the knowledge of that law and of that way of life. The next thing he would have received, if you will turn with me now to Galatians (Galatians 2 and beginning verse 15 and 16): Galatians 2:15-16 WE [it says in verse 15] … (16) know that a man is not justified [verse 16] by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ. Justification has to do with your past. That is, justify a guilty past by squaring it up and paying the penalty in your stead. It doesn’t say your faith in Christ. It’s the faith OF Christ. That is given to you through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives you a divine faith you never had before. You don’t work up that kind of faith. That is a gift of the Holy Spirit of God, and the next thing Adam would have received would have been that kind of faith. It’s the faith of God and the faith of Christ. Now the next thing that he would have received, you find in Acts the 1st chapter. Acts the 1st chapter and in verse 8, where Jesus said to the disciples … After His resurrection, they asked Him if the Kingdom of God would come immediately. He said, “No.” Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you. You will receive POWER. The Holy Spirit will give you the power to overcome; power to do what you have to do for God, power to follow what the Spirit of God gives you the knowledge to do, what the love of God gives you the love to perform with, and what faith in Christ gives you to rely on Christ for guidance, for deliverance. You know, we need that because “many are the afflictions of the righteous.” You are going to have many afflictions. “But the Lord delivereth them out of them all.” You have to have a connection with God to get help to be delivered when you are in trouble. I want to tell you, brethren, this Church has been in trouble more than once (troubles I haven’t told you about) when I have had to pray and pray my heart out. But God has heard, and God has delivered this Church; and He’s delivered me again, and again, and again. God not only gives us knowledge, but God gives us help when we need it. God is the greatest GIVER that there is!

WHAT ADAM TOOK TO HIMSELF (PLAY FROM 59:14)

Now then, let’s go a little further. All this has to do with Pentecost. You’ll see why a little bit later. Now Adam had to choose. One was the Tree of Life. He wouldn’t have gotten it immediately, but he would have immediately had knowledge from God. He would have lived a different way. He would have taught his children a different way. Oh, I think Satan would still have been there for a while, until Adam himself had been made immortal. Then Satan would have been put away. But, in the meantime, Adam would have known how Satan was not neglecting his children when they were 2 or 3 months old. He would have taught them, and he would have taught them so much; and he would have been in constant communion with God. He would have had the help of God in teaching his own children. You can have it, but do you have it? You have to go after it. You have to ask for it. So the question is whether you do have it or not. But Adam made the other choice. Adam TOOK TO HIMSELF the knowledge. He didn’t get the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s spiritual knowledge. He took to himself knowledge, and the only knowledge he could take to himself was materialistic knowledge. He took to himself the knowledge of the way towards good or towards evil. He took to himself the knowledge of what IS good and what is evil. He took to himself the knowledge of how to get it, and what he took to himself was self-centeredness. What he took to himself was vanity. What he took to himself was hostility towards others. He rebelled against God, and he had a carnal mind that is hostile against God and is competitive against other people. Instead of cooperating with other people and helping them, and they then helping us, we end up fighting one another; and one impedes the progress of another. Yet they say that competition is the way today. Oh, it’s competition — competition in sports, competition in business, competition in society, competition in government, in politics and everything. Competition in business, competition in everything! He took to himself that knowledge, and he cut himself off from THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. So he produced knowledge. Now in the 1960s, the world’s fund of knowledge was doubling; and during that decade Dr. Clark Kerr, who was then president of the {10} University of California at Berkley, said that (and I mentioned this in the graduation ceremony) the university of today — the modern university — is a factory. It is manufacturing knowledge. The purpose of the university is producing knowledge, but they only produce materialistic knowledge. They cannot produce the knowledge of our troubles (of how to solve our problems, our troubles) because those things are spiritual problems, and the knowledge that is required to solve them is spiritual knowledge. Men can’t manufacture that kind of knowledge. Adam started manufacturing knowledge humanly, and the world has been doing it ever since. Now it never got to a knowledge explosion until in our time, in this 20th century. Vanity! It’s looking to self-knowledge, self-love, vanity, coveting, hostile against God, and hostile against neighbor. Romans 8:7 — “The carnal mind is hostile against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be;” and it is hostile to neighbor.

HOLY SPIRIT SHUT OFF (PLAY FROM 1:03:00)

So now what happened? When Adam made that choice, go back again to Genesis; and in the 3rd chapter of Genesis and you find in verse 22: Genesis 3:22-24 The LORD God said, … now, lest he [the man] put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever [Lest he gain immortal Life going the way he is, in the kind of knowledge production that will only bring on trouble, and heartache, and suffering, and anguish. Lest he do that and live in unhappiness, and wretchedness, and suffering forever.]: (23) Therefore the [ETERNAL] God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. (24) So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to KEEP the way of the tree of life [lest a man go back and gain immortal Life living the wrong way]. In other words, my dear brethren, God will NOT give you immortal Life in suffering and unhappiness. God wants you to enjoy eternal Life! God is love; and He loves you so much that, if you are going to bring suffering on yourself, He’ll stamp you out. You’ll finally become as if you had never been. You’ll be ashes under the soles of our feet; if that’s the way you want it. You make your own choice. But God shut off the Holy Spirit from that time on. The Holy Spirit was shut up until the time of judgment. Now God’s judgment: you have to understand, judgment is not just the sentencing and punishing. Anyway God’s punishment is corrective, not revenge. Until the time of judgment — until others could have a chance (like Adam did) to make a choice — God shut up the Holy Spirit of Life. Right here is where so-called “Christianity” jumps the track. Life was shut up from human beings, and human beings only have a temporary existence (not Life). They don’t have Life until the time of the Second Adam, which is Christ — until Christ should come. Meanwhile, as you read back here in Hebrews 9:27, Hebrews 9:27 As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. Adam did die, and it’s appointed to other men to die; but after that comes judgment. Now the judgment is a trial and test as to what choice you will make. Even if you make the decision to make the right choice, then you have to receive the knowledge of God and receive the love of God, and the faith of God, and power from God; and you have to GROW in that knowledge and the Spirit and grace before you get immortal Life — because that is open to us today. Judgment was on Adam. Life had been offered to Adam; but it was withdrawn, when Adam made the wrong choice, until the Second Adam, Jesus Christ. So it is that we read in I Corinthians 15 verse 22. {11} I Corinthians 15:22 As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Now death came by Adam and in Adam all die; and it is appointed to men once to die, but after that the judgment. Christ came. The Second Adam became a human being. He had to make the choice, like Adam did. He chose to reject Satan. He chose to obey God. He kept the law of God. He said, “I have kept My Father’s commandments. I’ve set you an example that you should also keep God’s commandments.” That’s what Christ said. Christ — who never sinned, who never brought a penalty of death on Himself; but who is the one by whom God made all of us, and was therefore our Maker — Christ paid the death penalty for us in our stead so that if WE will now make the choice, that brings judgment to us; but not to everybody (only to those that are called).

JUDGEMENT NOW ON THE CHURCH (PLAY FROM 1:08:05)

Adam and universal sin of Adam’s children cut humans off from the Holy Spirit (or from real Life)until the time of judgment. But through Christ judgment was opened to the Church. Now in I Peter 4 and verse 17: I Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God. That’s the Church of God. JUDGMENT finally has begun! Judgment was cut off from man, and Adam was driven out of the Garden of Eden. Humanity has never had a chance of salvation. Ancient Israel was called. Ancient Israel was given the law of God, but they were not given the Holy Spirit. They were not being judged. They did not have a chance for Life. They were not given a chance to earn Life {12}, and they never received any Life. They still had a chemical, temporary existence. Now understand this: Only certain ones that were predestinated are called first — called now. Ultimately, God will call everybody; but God has a plan. The first man rejected it. Now, billions of people have lived and gone the wrong way. He wants to save all of those billions. God is not willing that ANY should die, but that ALL should come to repentance and immortal Life. But God has a master plan for bringing that about. The Church are called first, and they are the firstfruits. Today, or beginning tonight at sunset, and tomorrow is the anniversary of the beginning of the Church. That is the firstfruits, the first that God has called to have a chance of judgment. Judgment is on the Church, for judgment must begin at the house of God. But now I want you to notice in John 6:44, where Jesus said: John 6:44 No man CAN come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him. God isn’t calling everybody. It’s ONLY THE FIRSTFRUITS, and the Day of Pentecost was just the starting of the firstfruits (not salvation to everybody). Now there is a reason why God couldn’t call everybody all at once, and a very, very good reason: because we — just the same as Christ had to do, the same as Adam had to do (and Adam failed; Christ succeeded, the Second Adam) — WE have to face Satan and overcome Satan. Just the same as Adam faced Satan, just the same as Christ did, WE have to. So it is only those that are called by the Father. Now I want you to notice in Ephesians the 1st chapter, verses 11 and 12. Speaking of Christ in verse 10, verse 11: Ephesians 1:11-12 In whom also WE [within the Church] have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh ALL THINGS after the counsel of his own will: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first [put our hope] in Christ. The firstfruits! The Day of Pentecost was the beginning of the firstfruits, just the first to be converted. It doesn’t mean that everybody is converted now. Only a few are called, and only those few have a chance — those who were predestinated. Now Adam, (and through Adam) the world, was cut off. But through Christ judgment was opened first to the Church. Now let me show you a prophecy. It’s back in Joel: Joel the 2nd chapter and verse 28. Joel 2: 28 And it shall come [This is a prophecy. “It shall come … “] to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. Now the time of pouring out His Spirit to ALL FLESH hasn’t come yet. But the time of pouring out His Spirit to just all that part of “all flesh” that is the firstfruits had come on the Day of Pentecost because, on that day — on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2 beginning with verse 15, I want you to notice. (Let’s see, Acts 2. Now I didn’t put a marker in there for that.) In Acts 2 and beginning with verse 15, the Holy Spirit had come on that Day of Pentecost. The first time the Holy Spirit came for a group of people! The Holy Spirit came with a sound of a rushing, mighty wind that they could HEAR; and the Holy Spirit came visibly like flames of fire, of tongues, but in fiery tongues sitting on the head of each one of them and they could SEE it. That was a terrible manifestation, and a great crowd came running and gathering. They began to speak with other languages so that everybody there from every country heard the whole 120 speaking in his language and understood what was being said. You don’t hear that kind of tongues speaking any more. It never happened before or since. But Peter said, on that day when many thousands came running in, he said: Acts 2:15-17 These are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day [about 9 o’clock in the morning]. (16) But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; (17) It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh. Now this is only the firstfruits of “all flesh” and a type of everybody that will have the Holy Spirit beginning in the Millennium and in the Great White Throne Judgment to follow. But let’s understand that.

GOD’S ANNUAL HOLY DAYS (PLAY FROM 1:14:48)

God called the Church out from this world. Now the Church of the Old Testament had an existence, and human existence started with Adam. But Life coming into human beings started with the Second Adam, or Christ. Israel was a type of the Church; but Israel was physical, and the Church is spiritual — begotten. God gave the seven annual festivals to Israel, but they didn’t understand it. They didn’t know why. When I first heard it, for several years I didn’t know why. I just knew God commanded it, and He said it was forever; and I was willing to obey. So I kept all of these feast days (at least, all of the holy days) for some years till I found out the meaning. When I did, I found we are to keep more than just the holy days; but keep the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, which I did from that time on. Now, let me see. One other scripture I wanted to read here. I guess I lost another one some way. Oh, here it is. The 10th chapter of John and verse 10, where Jesus said: John 10:10 I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. That’s why Jesus came in the likeness of human flesh. Adam had not gotten Life. Life had not been given to the people until that time, and Jesus came that we might have LIFE. They didn’t have Life. They only had a human existence. But the first thing you get with Life (before that immortal Life is given to you) is spiritual knowledge, then the love of God, then you receive the faith of Christ, and then you receive power. If you grow in grace and in knowledge, and you endure until the end, you shall thenreceive Life eternal. Now we, which are called now, are going to sit with Christ on His throne. We’re going to be given power over the nations. {13} When Christ is coming, He is coming to His temple; and we are that temple. We are going to rise and meet Him in the air. We are the affianced Bride of Christ, to marry Him. We will be God beings; and we, in the Church (and, of course, that begins back in the Church of the original apostles) — and there are going to be many, many thousands. There are many thousands of us today. There will probably be even a few million. I don’t know. It isn’t going to be an awful lot, but we will be God beings; and it will be enough to do the real ruling of all that are left alive in the beginning of the Millennium. At the end of that time, there will be more. We will be God beings, and then there’ll be the resurrection to judgment of ALL WHO HAVE EVER LIVED! Frankly, I wonder if that included Adam. I think maybe. Judgment in God’s form is a time of trial and test. Adam had to make a decision, but living a time of trial and test over years, of proving it by your performance. Adam didn’t, and it was taken away from Adam before he could live that long. He had no chance of repentance because Christ hadn’t come. We have. It may be that even Adam will be in that resurrection to judgment at the end of the Millennium. It’s a wonderful thing. Now the feast days picture God’s plan. Of course, the first is the Passover. Second is our coming out of sin. Third is the receiving of the Holy Spirit, which gives you (as I say) the knowledge of God, the faith of Christ, the love of God to keep the law, the love to fulfill the law. All of those things; and finally, at the coming of Christ, eternal Life! But we are the firstfruits, and that is the meaning of the Day of Pentecost that we will observe beginning at sunset tonight. I hope that makes it a little more clear to you than it ever has been to you before. Let’s see where we are getting along here. Oh, well, we began at 2:30; and it isn’t 4:30 yet. I’m supposed to keep preaching till 4:30, and I’m not going to do it. [Audience laughs.] That’s all you get to hear. Well, brethren, I’m sorry I won’t be with you here tomorrow. But you are going to have Dr. Hoeh tomorrow, and also you are going to have Mr. LaRavia; and you will have Christ here with you. Isn’t that wonderful! Christ and His Spirit. Our fellowship is with God the Father and with Christ, as well as with one another. So you come tomorrow morning and tomorrow afternoon, and have that fellowship. I’ll go up and be having fellowship with the group from San Francisco, and Oakland, from Sacramento, from all the other cities up in the Joaquin Valley, the big valley. (They had it on a series of movies.) I’m trying to get around every few Sabbaths. Let me see. I don’t remember whether it’s the very next Sabbath now (I think it is.) that I am to go to Cincinnati. Or it is the week after, whichever. Let me see. Last Sabbath, I spoke to more than 4,000 of our brethren over at the Lake of the Ozarks. It was a great crowd, and generally it looked like a lot more people than I see of you here; and it was very nice to meet with all of them over there. I’m trying to get every other Sabbath off to speak to another group of a number of Churches in a certain area; and so I will continue that as long as God gives me good health, good mind, and good everything that it takes. So I don’t know when I’ll see you. I forget. I’m a little mixed up, whether it will be next Sabbath or a week from then. If it’s a week from then, I’ll be here with you next Sabbath, whichever. In the meantime, remember Christ is here, and God the Father is here; and our fellowship is with Them and with one another. What a wonderful fellowship it is, and to have the truth of God — a wonderful, wonderful thing. Be sure to notice the broadcast Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon. Keep praying — praying for one another, praying for the Work; and (if you will) praying for me, because I need it. I need it constantly all the time. I was only able to come today because I prayed and asked God for the strength and help to come, and He gave it to me. He always does. So I’ll need strength to go up there tomorrow, but God will give it. But you pray that He will, and He will; and God be with all of you. Bye, bye for now.
{1} Editor’s note: Mr. Armstrong gave a false start, and later repeated himself when he said “and, as a result” at this point; so the redundancy was removed here. {2} Editor’s note: Mr. Armstrong repeated himself and said “He was the spokesman” twice at this point. {3} Editor’s note: Mr. Armstrong said the 14th chapter, but he meant the 14th verse of the same 1st chapter. {4} Editor’s note: Mr. Armstrong corrected this concept in his 29 September 1985 sermon “HOW GOOD AND HOW PLEASANT,” when he explained (at 48:50 of the audio file) that Elohim is indeed a plural word and not uni-plural, as he had previously taught. {5} Editor’s note: Mr. Armstrong said the 2nd chapter, but he was referring to the 2nd verse of the 1st chapter of Genesis. {6} Editor’s note: For a fuller explanation, see PCD 900 series article  “924 – Cain get his wife” {7} Editor’s note: In his sermon on the first Day of Unleavened Bread, 6 April 1985, “RELY ON GOD” (from 33:30 to 37:25 on the audio file), Mr. Armstrong gave further understanding about the spirit in man actually being a part of the man. {8} Editor’s note: Mr. Armstrong said “If you receive the spirit of man;” but he undoubtedly meant “If you receive the Spirit of God,” because that’s what the verse he quotes is about. The spirit of man is present at birth and doesn’t have to be ‘received,’ as he points out later in this sermon. {9} Editor’s note: Mr. Armstrong left out the words “every one of you, in the name of” from the verse he was reading here. {10} Editor’s note: Mr. Armstrong first said the University of Chicago, but then he corrected himself. {11} Editor’s note: Mr. Armstrong said I Corinthians 50, but he meant chapter 15. {12} Editor’s note: Eternal Life is a gift of God (Romans 6:23), and cannot be “earned.” However, as Mr. Armstrong explains, we must do certain things before God gives Life. {13} Editor’s note: A false start (where Mr. Armstrong said “We are the … We are … “) has been deleted here.
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