The Wheat and Asses of Pentecost
The third part of the series, The Wheat and Asses of Pentecost deals mainly with Old Testament pentecostal types and shadows. Whenever wheat or asses are mentioned in the Bible, we know that it is a story dealing in some way with the anointing of Pentecost. By these examples, the Scriptures exhort us to move beyond Pentecost in our experience and knowledge of God, and move into the realm of Tabernacles and Sonship.
The Feast of Pentecost
Most Christians have heard of Pentecost, but they think of it solely as a New Testament event that occurred in the book of Acts. Because of this, few Christians really comprehend the significance of Pentecost, or see how it played a major role in the Old Testament as well as the New. Few understand that there were “Old Testament pentecostals” whose lives and deeds manifested the character of Pentecost itself. If we study the lives of these Old Testament pentecostals, along with those in the New, we may obtain a balanced view of the nature of Pentecost.
This is a very important study, because it puts Pentecost into a more realistic light. Those who think Pentecost is the final capstone of Christianity will learn through this study the limitations of Pentecost. Those who think Pentecost is to be ignored or avoided will learn the benefits and strengths of Pentecost.
The feast of Pentecost must, of course, be taken in the context of the other feast days of Israel. There were three main feast days: Passover, Pentecost, and the eight days of Tabernacles.
Passover was held on the 14th day of the first month (Abib) in the Spring (Lev. 23:5). In mid-afternoon the people killed a lamb and prepared it for the evening meal. This commemorated that first Passover, when Israel prepared to leave Egypt the next day under Moses. Years later, it was also the day Jesus was crucified.
The priest then waited for the next Sabbath before waving the sheaf of barley “on the day after the Sabbath” (Lev. 23:11). This wave-sheaf offering commemorated Israel's crossing of the Red Sea, and it was also the day Jesus rose from the dead.
The wave-sheaf offering always fell on a day later known as Sunday by the Roman calendar. It was the first day of a 50-day countdown toward Pentecost. We find this feast described carefully in Moses' words to Israel in Leviticus 23:15-17.
15 You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete Sabbaths. 16 You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord. 17 You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the Lord.
At the feast of Pentecost, the high priest was to offer to God the first fruits of the wheat harvest. He took a specific measure of wheat and baked two loaves of bread with leaven (yeast). This little detail sets the stage for understanding the nature of Pentecost, particularly its limitations in our own lives.
By way of contrast, the Passover had been kept as the first day of “unleavened bread,” wherein all Israelites took the leaven out of their houses for a week. On the Sunday after Passover, the barley wave-sheaf offering was offered to God without leaven. This signifies that those who are justified by faith in the blood of the lamb are imputed righteous, for the righteousness of Christ makes them legally perfect in God's sight.
But seven weeks later, at Pentecost, the leaven was to be put into the pentecostal offering. This was commanded by God in order to show us a very important truth about the pentecostal anointing which the New Testament calls, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It tells us that sanctification is a process in which we are still “leavened.” In our actual lives, we are yet imperfect, even though we have been imputed righteous by the blood of the Lamb.
Leaven was specifically forbidden in all offerings and sacrifices to God. Lev. 2:11 says,
11 No grain offering, which you bring to the Lord, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven or any honey as an offering by fire to the Lord.
The only reason that the leavened offering of Pentecost could be offered to God was because it had already been baked in the fire to stop the action of the leaven. Likewise, in order for our leavened offering experience to be acceptable to God is if we present our bodies as “living sacrifices” to God (Rom. 12:1). If we avoid the fire of God, we are unacceptable to God as Pentecostal offerings.
When the day of Pentecost arrived in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the 120 disciples in the upper room. Such a fantastic experience had never occurred in history. They were, no doubt, overwhelmed by it. If someone had asked them on that day about it, they might have thought they had been brought fully into perfection. But this did not happen. Some years later, after they had had time to ponder the nature of Pentecost and see how it had actually worked out in their own lives in practice, Paul said they had only received “the pledge,” that is, the earnest or down payment of the Spirit. Ephesians 1:13, 14 says:
13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Pentecost has given us only the “pledge” of our inheritance promised to us UNTIL the full “redemption of God's own possession.” Romans 8:23 tells us that this is referring to “the redemption of our body.” This comes either by raising the dead or by the transfiguration of those who are and remain unto His coming. Paul tells the Corinthians the same thing in 2 Cor. 1:22, saying,
22 Who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.
Again, he tells them in 2 Cor. 5:5,
5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
By these plain statements it should be clear that we have not received the fullness of His Spirit, but only a portion. It should be clear that there is more yet to come, a final outpouring of the Spirit that will indeed bring us into perfection. We must understand that the present anointing of Pentecost is still leavened, that Sanctification is an on-going process of Christian growth. For this reason Paul found it necessary to pray that the Ephesian believers would go beyond Pentecost into Tabernacles. In his well-known prayer in Eph. 3:14-19, he concludes with the words, “that you might be filled up to all the fullness [pleroma] of God.” That is likewise my heart's prayer for myself and for you as well.
Leaven is a biblical symbol of sin. That is why the Passover was to be observed without leaven. It pictured Jesus, the perfect Sacrifice, the Lamb of God without spot or blemish, who was to die for the sin of the world. And because His perfection is imputed to the believer, God sees us as part of His body.
As we saw earlier in Lev. 2:11, no blood sacrifice or meal offering to God was to be offered with leaven. Why? Because offerings to God were to picture perfection, and leaven was a symbol of si n. However, the exception is the Pentecost offering where the instructions were to bake the bread with leaven. At Pentecost, the antitype is not Christ, but the church.
When Israel was in sin, the prophet Amos used a bit of sarcasm, telling them to offer a sacrifice with leaven, because this was typical of them in their sinful state (Amos 4:5).
This symbol carried into the New Testament era as well. Jesus said to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees (Mt. 16:6) and the leaven of Herod (Mark 8:15). When Paul discussed the Passover feast with the Corinthian church, he scolded them quite severely in 1 Cor. 5:6-8, saying,
6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? 7 Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
This being the case, it must have seemed strange to Moses and Aaron that God would require them to observe Pentecost with leaven. If the religion had been of their own invention, certainly they would have banned leaven all the more on Pentecost. But they were following a revelation of God Whose wisdom and knowledge passes all understanding. Only God Himself could have foreknown the fulfillment of Pentecost that would occur nearly 1500 years later.
God told the high priest to use leaven at Pentecost precisely so that we would know that we cannot be perfected under the pentecostal anointing. Pentecost was so overwhelming to the people that they might easily have mistaken this for the fullness. They might easily have fallen into the misunderstanding that they could be perfected by it. So God took pains to prophesy to us in the law that Pentecost had limitations in its ability to perfect us.
King Saul, the Pentecostal
Saul was crowned king of Israel on the day of Pentecost. This is why we call him a pentecostal. Saul is probably the most important illustration in the Old Testament that manifests the nature of Pentecost. In his reign of 40 years we see the “reign” of the Church during the 40 Jubilees (1960 years) from 33 AD to 1993.
Just as King Saul was crowned on Pentecost and called by God to rule the House of Israel, so also was the Church crowned on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The Church, too, was called to rule as Saul. It was to be the beginning of the monarchy in a New Testament sense, and the disciples were sent out into all the world to convert and baptize all nations. They were sent to bring all things under His feet, putting all of creation under His jurisdiction.
Unfortunately, this has not happened. What started out so powerfully in the early chapters of Acts soon faded, as the leaven of Pentecost spread throughout the whole lump of dough. Thus, the Church in the past 40 Jubilees has been the fulfillment of the Old Testament story of King Saul, the pentecostal. Saul's household was destined to rule Israel only temporarily, for he was a Benjamite, and the kings of Israel had to come from Judah (Gen. 49:10). Even so, the New Testament Pentecostal Church was destined to rule for only 40 Jubilees, until the time the overcomers would rule by the anointing of the Feast of Tabernacles.
The story of Saul begins with the people of Israel demanding a king in 1 Samuel 8. The people had become impatient and did not want God to rule them directly any more. 1 Samuel 8:7 says,
The Israelites felt they had good reason to be quite dissatisfied with the reign of God over them. They had just come through six major captivities in their short 396-year history since the Jordan crossing. They had been in captivity for 111 of those years. In fact, just three years before Saul's coronation, God had finally delivered them from a long 58-year captivity to the Ammonites and Philistines. The Ammonites had oppressed them 18 years, and then the Philistines for another 40 years. Most of the people did not even remember being a free people.
They were dissatisfied with the rule of God, because He was too strict with them. He demanded more of them than their flesh could handle. Why, every time they indulged in a little idolatry, God would bring them into another captivity! Finally, human wisdom dictated that they should have a king who was more human, one who understood their weaknesses and would indulge their idolatry and rebellion.
It was in this context of history that the people came to Samuel and demanded a king. God granted them their request, but warned them that their king would indeed be just like them. He would be a manifestation of their own hearts. He would be corrupted by power and would use the people for his own benefit (See 1 Sam. 8:11-18).
In 1 Samuel 9, the prophet begins to tell us how Saul came to be king. Saul's father had lost some donkeys and sent his son to find them. He could not find them, so he decided to go to Samuel, hoping he could pray to God to find out what had happened to them.
Meanwhile, God had told Samuel that He would send the man that was to be Israel's king. Saul arrived at the right time, and thus he was crowned king of Israel.
As for the timing of his coronation, we are told that Saul had searched for his father's donkeys for three days before coming to Samuel (9:20). Samuel then spent the rest of the day talking with Saul about his reign over Israel. I find it interesting that “Samuel spoke with Saul on the roof” (9:25). This was customary, of course, particularly in the cool of the evening. Yet it foreshadows the “upper room” of Acts 1:13, where the disciples met after Jesus' ascension.
The next day Samuel anointed Saul (10:1) and gave him three signs by which he would know that he was truly called to be king over Israel. He also told Saul to go to Gilgal and tarry seven days while Samuel offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to God. Finally, the day of coronation came. It had been a full ten days since Saul's father had sent him to search for his father's donkeys. He had searched for three days and had tarried for another seven days. It was now the day of Pentecost.
In Samuel's coronation speech (chapter 12), he said in verses 17 and 18,
The day of wheat harvest is the day of Pentecost. How do we know? Because it is written in the law. No man was allowed to harvest or eat of a new crop of grain until they had first presented to God the first fruits of the harvest. Lev. 23:14 says,
Hebrew terminology developed from this law. The day of barley harvest, mentioned in 2 Samuel 21:9, was the day of the wave-sheaf offering occurring a few days after the feast of Passover. The day of wheat harvest was the day of Pentecost. These were the days that the high priest offered up to God the first fruits of these newly-ripened crops. Only then could the men return home and begin to harvest those crops for themselves. Hence, the day of barley harvest was the day of the wave-sheaf offering; and the day of wheat harvest was the feast of weeks (Shavuot), known later as Pentecost.
Thus, we see that Saul was crowned king on the day of Pentecost, the day of wheat harvest. He had to tarry a full ten days (3 + 7) before his coronation. Many years later, the disciples in the upper room also had to tarry ten days to Pentecost. Acts 1:3 tells us that Jesus had ascended on the 40th day after teaching his disciples for the 40 days following his resurrection (the day of barley harvest). Before his ascension, He told them to tarry in Jerusalem until they were given the empowerment to carry out the Great Commission (Luke 24:49). The Spirit was poured out ten days later on the day of Pentecost, the day of wheat harvest (Acts 2:1).
I suggest that the story of Saul also reveals to us that those ten days were broken up into 3 + 7 days. Just as Saul searched for his father's donkeys the first three days, it probably took the disciples three days to gather themselves together in the upper room. This is made plain by the fact that Saul met with Samuel on the roof of the house after three days had already passed.
The final seven days, then, were spent coming into harmony, or “one ac cord” (Acts 2:1). That is, they offered spiritual peace offerings to the Lord, even as Samuel did for seven days prior to the Coronation of Saul.
In Saul's coronation, Samuel prayed that God would send thunder and rain on the day of Pentecost, so that the people would understand that they had done wrong in asking for a king. How strange! In Palestine, rain is very rare at the time of Pentecost. In fact, any farmer knows that one cannot harvest grain if it is wet. So rain at this time would have been perceived as a judgment from God. But God did send thunder and rain, as we read in 1 Sam. 12:18, 19,
Proverbs 26:1 tells us how unusual rain was at the time of Pentecost:
In other words, some things were quite rare, not only in biblical days, but also in today's world:
So God brought forth rain out of season at the time of Pentecost in order to give us a down payment of the rains in due season. It was a partial rain of the Holy Spirit, called the baptism of the Sprit, and yet it was not really the rainy season. Consequently, a rain out of season can be bad, and an outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost comes with judgment for asking for an earthy king.
Thus, Samuel said that the rain at Saul's coronation was to show them that they had done wickedly. Even so, the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) is to begin a cleansing process of the wickedness within us. This is why it is also called a “baptism of fire.” Fire is a purifying and cleansing agent as well. This outpouring of the Spirit is not the good news of perfection, but the rather ominous news of purification by fire.
In this context, we see that the primary issue is that men want man to rule them instead of God. Saul was called to be king only because the people had rejected God from ruling over them. Even so, the Pentecostal Age has been dominated by the rule of men in the Church who were in rebellion against God—even as King Saul foreshadowed in his rule over Israel. It is not that Saul made any decrees against the worship of God in Israel, but rather that he usurped divine authority that was not his. This is made very clear in 1 Sam. 13, when Saul offered the burnt offering himself, instead of waiting for Samuel. Because of this particular sin, God said through Samuel in 1 Sam. 13:13, 14,
God said through the prophet that God was looking for a man after His own heart to rule Israel. He is still looking for such people. These are the ones who will ultimately rule and judge all the people of the earth, for “they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6). These are the people who come into the fullness of the Spirit by fulfilling the Feast of Tabernacles. They are represented by King David, who replaced Saul and was a man after God's own heart.
Saul truly was called of God, but this was not God's “perfect will.” The people had rejected God's perfect will in having a Theocracy, where God ruled the people directly. Once the people rejected God's direct rulership, then a secondary “will of God” came into operation. That secondary will was that Saul was called of God to be king over Israel.
In other words, Saul truly was called to rule, but not on the same level as David was later called. Saul was called, one might say, temporarily, for God knew that he would fail. God knew that He would eventually reject Saul from having an enduring dynasty. In this, Saul is a picture of the pentecostal Church.
The implication of this is clear: the pentecostal Church has also been disqualified for rulership in the Kingdom of God. That honor has been reserved for the overcomers, the barley company, who are pictured in the life of David. (See our book, The Barley Overcomers.)
The pentecostal Church was given 40 Jubilees in which to exercise authority in the earth, even as Saul was given 40 years. Their time was completed in 1993. At that point, God began to move in a different manner to bring the house of David, the overcomers, into its place of full rulership. Yet even as there was a transition of seven years and six months from Saul to David (2 Sam. 5:5), so also there has been a transition of authority from Pentecost to the authority of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Samuel gave Saul three signs by which he would know that he was truly called to rule Israel. We read of them in 1 Samuel 10:2-7. The first sign is this:
All signs have meaning. They are not given merely for the purpose of confirmation; there is always a deeper meaning to them. When we see that these signs are all Pentecostal signs, we then have the key to knowing their meaning.
This first sign took place at Rachel's tomb, and it calls to mind a very interesting prophecy. Matt. 2:16-18 quotes Jeremiah 31:15, saying:
The book of Jasher gives us the background to this prophecy. (This ancient book was rediscovered in a rabbi's office in Venice, Italy in 1613.) When Joseph was sold into slavery and was on his way to Egypt, the caravan passed Rachel's tomb. Rachel was Joseph's mother, of course, and so he threw himself upon her grave and wept. We read then in Jasher 42:37-40,
This is the story of Joseph as he was on his way to Egypt. God was bringing him there to train him for rulership by teaching him to be a faithful slave and as a rejoicing convict. It is the voice of weeping, but it is also the voice of Hope.
And so, for Saul to receive his first sign at the tomb of Rachel is highly significant. The two men told him that his father was now sorrowing for Saul. In other words, Saul himself was the first one after Joseph to hear the voice of weeping for the children. Rachel's tomb was near Ramah, as Matthew tells us. Ramah was Samuel's home town also. It was there that Samuel wept for Saul (1 Sam. 15:34, 35), for he loved Saul like a son.
Matthew tells us that King Herod likewise fulfilled this prophecy when he killed the children of Bethlehem at the time Jesus was taken to Egypt. The voice of weeping began with Herod's murder of the children; it was extended with the Jewish persecution of the early Church; it was further extended with Rome's persecution; and finally, it extended through the Dark Ages, when the Church persecuted and killed its overcomers.
The Pentecostal Age has truly been an age of much weeping. At no time during the 40 Jubilees from 33 AD to 1993 AD can we say that the saints were reigning and ruling with Christ. Instead, the true Pentecostals have been put into the fire in order that the leaven might be baked out of them. The false Pentecostals, who flourished during this past Age, remained unbaked and full of leaven. It has been an age of Saul's rulership and the persecution of David. We are now near the end of this time of weeping, when God turns it into rejoicing.
If we put this all together, we see that the age of Pentecost was an age of training. It was not meant to be a glorious age of victory, but a training ground and a proving ground. It was to be an era of oppression, but it was necessary in the overall Plan of God to teach His David company how not to be tyrants. All Christians are in training for rulership, but only a few will reach that prize of the high calling of God. The rest will be embittered by the weeping, without allowing the Jubilee principle of forgiveness to consume them. In their bitterness, their hearts are hardened as Saul's, and they become oppressors of God's people themselves.
Saul and David represent two distinct types of Christians in that era. Saul represents those who would oppress; and David represents those who are oppressed, but who overcome. Even as Rachel wept for her son, Joseph, as he began his Egyptian bondage, so also did God bring Saul to her tomb at the start of Israel's bondage. It was an ominous sign, but prophetic of the Pentecostal Age to come.
The second sign is given in I Sam. 10:3, 4,
These three men were apparently on their way to Bethel to observe the feast of Pentecost, which was just one week away. Remember, David had not yet been born, and he is the one who conquered the city of Jerusalem. So these men would not be going to Jerusalem to keep the feast. Neither could they go to Shiloh, which had been the original place where the ark had been placed. Shiloh had been destroyed when the ark was taken by the Philistines three and a half years earlier.
Apparently, a priestly center had been set up in Bethel, at least temporarily. This was the place where Jacob had had his dream/vision of the angels ascending and descending, and where he had anointed the stone (See Gen. 28). In Jacob's journey to Haran and back, his major stops set the early patterns of Israel's feast days. While that is too long to explain here, we can say that Jacob's stop at Bethel signified the feast of Pentecost. For a more complete study of Jacob's wilderness journey and its feast-day manifestation, see chapter 4 of our book, The Laws of the Second Coming.
The three men on their way to Bethel were carrying wine for the pentecostal drink offering (Lev. 23:18) and a kid of the goats for each of them, probably for the pentecostal sacrifice (Lev. 23:19). It is also significant that they were carrying three loaves of bread and gave Saul two of them. Remember that at Pentecost the high priest was to offer up to God two loaves of bread baked with leaven. The men were probably going to Bethel with first fruits of the wheat, baked with leaven. Two of the loaves they prophetically gave to Saul to identify him as a pentecostal.
The third sign is by far the most obvious:
Sure enough, these three signs did occur while Saul was on his way from Samuel's house in Ramah to Gilgal.
This passage does not define “prophesy” for us, so we will not attempt to do so either. We do not know how these prophets prophesied. Is this a reference to their singing in the Spirit, or singing spiritual songs? The text does not clearly tell us. But one thing is very clear: this is truly a pentecostal sign. The fact that Saul was crowned king a week later on the day of Pentecost makes it abundantly clear that this is how God intended us to interpret these signs.
This became a proverb in Israel (1 Sam. 10:12). Why? What did it mean? As time progressed and it became evident that Saul was both a prophet and an oppressor of those under him, men began to use that saying as a proverb.
This seeming incongruity is the whole point of the proverb. How could a man like Saul prophesy? How could the Spirit of God come upon such an imperfect vessel? Would not the Spirit of God come only upon a righteous man? But no, the Spirit was poured out upon Saul, an unrighteous man. The people wanted to be ruled by men before the time came for the rule of David the overcomer. So they got Saul, who was NOT an overcomer, but was merely a pentecostal.
So when an Israelite came across a contradiction he did not understand, some incongruity of life, he would quote the proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
This has meaning for us today, for those in the realm of Pentecost are imperfect also. In this past century in particular, with the rise of the Pentecostal movement in the early 1900's, we can all point to those who are imperfect, yet who claim to have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In more recent years the news media has exposed many televangelists who seem to have a prophetic anointing and yet their character falls far short of the overcoming life. The incongruity of the situation is merely an extension of Saul's experience.
This whole situation tells us in no uncertain terms that the realm of Pentecost is very much “leavened.” It is NOT a realm of perfection. It is a realm in which sinners are baptized in the Holy Spirit. And just because they have had a tremendous experience with the Holy Spirit does not mean they are now sinless.
Pentecostals need to understand this, so that they may see the limitations of their pentecostal anointing. So often we feel we are obligated to put on a show of perfection in order to evangelize others into the same experience. But once we see that God never intended to perfect us by means of Pentecost, we can have the grace to admit imperfection and submit to the fire of God. We can lose the fear of acknowledging our leavened condition in front of others. Most importantly, we can lower our expectations to a more realistic level.
This helps us to be less judgmental of those in the realm of Pentecost that we deem to be less than perfect, those who perhaps did receive a genuine infilling of the Holy Spirit, but who later leaked. Our motive is not to judge pentecostals, but to give them a fresh vision of another outpouring of the Spirit that will shortly come to pass. This time it will be the fulfillment of Tabernacles, the fullness of His Spirit. We need to prepare our vessels for that day.
Others see our imperfection with 20/20 vision, whether we see it or not. If we are blind to our own imperfections, or just plain refuse to admit them, we will seldom convince anyone else that our experience is valid. They will see us as blind at best, or liars at the worst. Those who rise to positions of leadership and honor will have to separate themselves from the laity in order to maintain the illusion of perfection, because anyone who really gets to know them will find that they are, after all, still human.
Men like Saul, who rise to positions of power even by a legitimate call of God, find that they must instill “the fear of God” in their subjects in order to maintain their position. They must rule by fear, force, and a certain level of deception, lest they be ousted by other ambitious men who desire their position. The focus of their calling thus begins to shift away from training the people into spiritual maturity. Their prime directive becomes one of survival and self-perpetuation. The organization becomes the master, rather than the servant.
This is largely what the various denominations of Christendom have done, as they follow the lead of King Saul. In order to maintain political control, they have passed Church laws consigning people to hell if they get out of line or if they leave the denomination. To be expelled or excommunicated from the organization is supposedly to fall from grace. Many people are so bound by fear that they refuse even to read any book not specifically sanctified by their bishop, priest, or pastor. They are afraid that someone outside their church or denomination might actually have some truth not known by their own leaders. They are afraid that they might be convinced of that truth, and that their leaders may excommunicate them and damn them to hell for it.
To prevent such a situation, it is easier and safer simply to do what is minimally required by their church. And thus, the Sauls in the Church oppress the people and prevent them from growing into the fullness of the stature of Christ. They keep the people in the realm of Pentecost and never allow them to pursue the realm of the third feast of Israel—the feast of Tabernacles.
Saul gathered together a small army of 3,000 men when he had reigned just two years in Israel (1 Sam. 13:2). He had other volunteers, but he sent the rest home in order to identify this as a pentecostal army. Recall that on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, there were 3,000 who were added to the Church (Acts 2:41). This number often repeats in the Scriptures whenever it is referring to a story about Pentecost.
Saul's army gathered at Gilgal, the same place where Saul had been crowned king just two years earlier. Once again, Samuel said to tarry seven days (1 Sam. 13:8). This was a virtual repeat of Saul's coronation day, except that I believe this took place in the week of Tabernacles. It was his opportunity to show he was an overcomer who is able to fulfill the feast of Tabernacles. But he failed.
It is my opinion that if Saul had waited for Samuel to make the offering, God would have accepted the offering by fire from heaven, as often occurred in those days. However, Saul did it himself, and he lit the fire with “strange fire” – that is, natural fire kindled by man. This is what had killed Nadab and Abihu many years earlier (Lev. 10). This is, I believe, what disqualified Saul. This is also what has disqualified the Church, for in their impatience to see the Holy Spirit's “fire” fall upon them in revival, they have too often worked it up by the flesh. I Sam. 13:8–10 reads:
In the natural, one could hardly blame Saul here. The army was fearful and starting to leave him. So Saul did the natural, fleshly thing. He offered the burnt offering himself.
This story was written that we might know specifically what has disqualified the pentecostal Church from ruling in His Kingdom. It is the sin of impatience. This manifests in a number of ways. First, as we have already mentioned, we become impatient in our tarrying. We finally conclude that if we do not do it, no one will. So we run for the matches and schedule revivals, so the Holy Spirit wil l know when to come. We set up our own appointed times.
Samuel said to wait seven days to an appointed time; Saul was ruled by fear of the Philistines, thinking that if he waited any longer, the Philistines would overcome him. Likewise, pentecostals are too often driven by a hidden fear that if they do not see the fires of revival fall upon the church soon, the Philistines (the flesh) will overcome them. They are afraid the people will be scattered (leave the Church), if they do not prime the pump themselves. Yet in offering up the sacrifice themselves, the flesh does prevail, and the very thing they fear comes upon them anyway.
Secondly, because of Saul's fear and impatience, he usurped authority reserved for Samuel.
Thirdly, Saul offered strange fire, an imitation revival.
The feast days of Israel are God's appointed times when He divides the ages by the level of the Spirit that He has given. His Spirit was given to Israel externally in the Passover Age. The pledge, or earnest, of His Spirit was given internally in the Pentecost Age, beginning in Acts 2. We are now at the end of that age and are in the transition into the Tabernacles Age, wherein He is soon going to pour out His Spirit upon us in its fullness.
These are the overall appointed times. Within each of these, however, are smaller outpourings called “revivals”. They are governed by the age in which they occur and are limited to it. Yet one must know the specific will of God and the appointed times of those smaller revivals as well. One cannot schedule a revival; one must seek His face to know His appointed time, lest we offer strange fire upon the altars of our hearts and come under judgment.
So let us not be as Saul, who was impatient and offered strange fire upon the pentecostal altar. Let us rather be as David, who also built an altar to God at the appointed time of Pentecost, but refused to kindle the fire himself. 1 Chron. 21:26 says,
This offering came at the time of wheat harvest, for we read that Ornan was threshing his newly-harvested wheat when David bought the site (21:20). He gave Ornan a down payment of 50 shekels of silver (2 Sam. 24:24), and later gave him the full payment of 600 shekels of gold (1 Chron. 21:25). The 50 shekels of silver speaks of Pentecost and the earnest of the Spirit.
David's offering differed from Saul's. David called upon God to pour out His Spirit upon his altar (heart). He refused to kindle Pentecost with strange fire. This is one of the major differences between the Saul company and the David company today. We would do well to take heed to the lessons God has given us in the Old Testament.
Pentecost will always be characterized by leaven, for that is the divine decree established in His Law. Our only hope is to go beyond Pentecost to Tabernacles. But this is another appointed time, and we must patiently run the race that is set before us
Samson: The Deliverer Who Couldn’t
Few stories in the Bible have captured our imagination more than the story of Samson. His story is found in Judges 13-16. He was a man of great strength when the Spirit of God would come upon him. However, he was also a man of great weakness. As we will show in this chapter, Samson, like Saul, was an Old Testament pentecostal.
We will not take the time to deal with the unusual circumstances surrounding his birth, except to say that he was certainly called of God. God raised him up as a judge, or deliverer, in Israel for 20 years some time during the 40 years of the Philistine oppression. Yet Samson, for all his strength, did not deliver Israel from the Philistines. Instead, we find him fraternizing with them and attempting to marry a Philistine woman. In that sense, Samson failed in his calling as a judge in Israel. And yet we find from the start that this was all a part of the plan of God.
Samson is best known for his battle in which he killed 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. The story is found in Judges 15. This is the chapter that proves Samson to be an Old Testament Pentecostal. But before we discuss that chapter, let us look at the background material that the Bible gives.
Judges 14 begins the story of Samson's exploits as a young man. From the beginning we find that it is the story of Samson's love life.
Many find it difficult to comprehend the mind of God here. By the standard of God's law, it was most certainly unlawful for Samson to marry a Philistine woman. Samson's parents were right in this. He should not be “unequally yoked.” And yet the author (Samuel) tells us that Samson's parents were ignorant of the mind of God in this.
It is not that God condoned the violation of His law. God's law always defines His will (thelema, Rom. 2:18). It is always the will of God to refrain from sin, as defined by the law of God. However, God had a plan (boulema, Rom. 9:19) that was hidden to most, including Samson and his parents.
Samson was called as a judge to deliver Israel. That was God's will (thelema) for his life. Samson violated that will by making alliances with the Philistines, instead of throwing off their yoke. But on the other hand, Samson did fulfill the plan (boulema) of God for his life. The plan called for Samson to be a type of pentecostal and never actually deliver Israel from the yoke of the Philistines. Hence, his life would foreshadow the type of leaders and prophets that we would see during the Pentecostal Age.
Samson's parents understood only the will of God. They did not understand His plan, at least not at first. They did not know that Samson was called to be a type of pentecostal. Had they known this, they might have realized that since the pentecostal offering is always mixed with leaven, Samson himself would manifest the leavened character of Pentecost.
In Judges 14:4 we read that God “was seeking an occasion against the Philistines” by having Samson seek a Philistine wife. This tells us God's purpose, but it does not impart much in the way of understanding. As we read the story, though, we find that Samson's love life always ended with a major conflict with the Philistines. Samson killed 30 Philistines in 14:19. Then in 15:15 he slew 1,000 of them. Finally, in 16:27 he kills 3,000 Philistines, but dies doing it. All of these slaughters are a direct result of his love of Philistine women.
But what does all this have to do with us? He is a type of the Church under the pentecostal anointing. Like Samson, the Church also has great strength every time the Spirit is given. When true revival breaks forth, the flesh (“Philistines”) dies. Like Samson, the Church is called by the will of God to deliver the people from the bondage of the flesh; yet the Church has violated that call by fraternizing with the flesh. Like Saul, they have built great edifices and denominational organizations in which to put their servants and hold them captive through fear. But when men then cry out to God for denominational abuses, God sends a revival with a revelation of truth. This lasts for a while, until men denominationalize that revival, and the cycle begins again. Hence, we see that fraternizing with the Philistines becomes the occasion for another outpouring of the Spirit.
Samson's love life began with his attempt to marry the Philistine woman of Timnah. He then moved on to fornication with a harlot in Gaza (16:1-3). He finally ended up living with Delilah (16:4-20). One can see from this progression how the leaven of Pentecost grew over time. This is also the story of the Church. It started out attempting to marry the flesh in a lawful manner; then it committed fornication with the Great Harlot of Rev. 17. It ends up living with “Delilah,” whose name means “languishing, or oppression.”
In spite of this, God has a purpose in mind. As with Samson's parents, many people can see the leaven in the Church, but most do not comprehend that plan of God for the Church. They see only that the Church has a certain fascination with the flesh that always seems to get it into trouble. But God has purposed that the Church be leavened in the pentecostal era. God has purposed that those under the pentecostal anointing have a love affair with the flesh, even as they follow God. God has purposed that when the flesh reaches a prescribed level of oppression and threatens the Church, then God pours out His Spirit in revival to beat back the flesh for a time.
The overall purpose for this is so that God has a lawful occasion against the flesh. God does not even judge the Philistines unless He has lawful occasion to do so. Whenever the Philistines threatened Samson, he cried out to God, and God delivered him. In the end, when Samson was blinded and oppressed by the Philistines, God granted him one final surge of strength, by which he brought down the entire temple of Dagon. It killed 3,000 Philistines—and himself.
Samson was not a picture of an overcomer. An overcomer finds the path to life and victory, even if he fails repeatedly. Samson died in the house of Dagon, even as Saul died in the end, overcome finally by the Philistines. So also, the Church under Pentecost will not inherit life in the first resurrection, but will “die in the wilderness.” This does not mean they are not Christians. Far from it. It is simply ordained of God that the Church as a whole is pentecostal in nature, having its wheat mixed with leaven. The Church will have to wait until the second resurrection to receive its inheritance “with the unbelievers” (Luke 12:46) in the general resurrection from the d ead (See The Purpose of Resurrection).
In Judges 14:5-9 we find Samson killing a young lion with his bare hands. After a time, as he passed that place, he found a swarm of bees had nested in the carcass of the lion. Samson took some honey from the carcass and ate of it, even giving his parents some of it. However, he did not tell them that the honey had been rendered unclean by its contact with a dead body.
As we will see shortly, this dead lion came to represent Jesus Christ who was to die to bring forth the “honey” of the Promise. It is comparable to Canaan, the Promised Land, which was called the land flowing with milk and honey. It also carries the same theme in the story of Jonathan in 1 Sam. 14:27, when he tasted of the honey and then found himself under Saul's curse of death.
Samson later used this incident to formulate a riddle for the Philistines to try to solve. He made a bet with them for 30 changes of garment that they could not solve the riddle: “Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.” (See Judges 14:14.) The Philistines had seven days in which to discover the answer to the riddle.
These seven days represent the seven days of the feast of Unleavened Bread (the week after Passover). This is evident when we compare this with the events of Judges 15, that took place “after a while in the time of wheat harvest” (15:1), or Pentecost. In other words, the riddle probably took place during the seven days of Unleavened Bread just seven weeks before the time of Pentecost. At least, this is what it signifies prophetically.
At any rate, the Passover riddle contains the secret to obtaining the real “honey,” the Passover's promise of justification. This was not something the Philistines could discover, because they represent the flesh. The fleshly mind cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit. To the carnal, such things remain a riddle, or “foolishness,” as Paul says in 1 Cor. 1:23,
On the fourth day of the feast, the Philistines came to Samson's betrothed wife and threatened her, saying in Judges 14:15,
In New Testament terms, this simply shows how the carnal mind attempts to solve the riddle of justification. The “Philistines” demand to know the secret of justification in an unlawful manner. They do not want the truth to be spoken in love (Eph. 4:15), but rather in fear of hellfire and brimstone. Indeed, that is how this teaching developed in the first place in the early church. Read the writings of Augustine, the “champion of eternal torments.” He and others believed that if the church threatened sinners with the worst possible punishment, this would frighten them into salvation and serving God.
This is ever the tendency of the Philistine mind. It has also become the mind of a great portion of the Church, which has a strong attraction for Philistine “women.” But this is an unlawful means of learning or teaching the truth. Faith and fear are opposites.
So Samson's betrothed wept and prevailed. Samson told her the secret; and she then told her Philistine brethren. Samson thus lost the bet, so he had to pay off his debt.
The Philistines were “saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:15). That is, they learned the secret of justification: the honey that comes out of the Lion of Judah. Their reward is that they will be clothed with the “change of garments” from above. They will receive that glorified body. But because they learned it in an unlawful manner – by threats of hellfire and brimstone – they were judged according to their own words.
It seems that most preaching in the Church today has the same fixation. Even as the Philistines used fear tactics to learn the riddle of justification, so also today do many preachers attempt to save men through fear of hellfire. It is a typical Philistine tactic, and the story of Samson tells us what God thinks of it. Yet He speaks in parables, so that the Church will not understand.
Many of us were motivated by fear when we first came to Christ. Hopefully, we have since learned to view Him as our loving Father, who disciplines His children by His righteous law, rather than torturing the disobedient child by the law of the Philistines. A more complete study on the Fire of God is given in the first few chapters of our book Creation's Jubilee.
As we mentioned earlier, Judges 15 deals with the time of wheat harvest, or Pentecost (15:1). By this time Samson had had time to cool down a bit, and he decided to go back to Timnah with a gift. Today, we would give her flowers, but in that culture Samson gave her a kid (young goat or lamb).
When he arrived, he found that his betrothed had already been given to another. Samson had another temper tantrum. Knowing that he had “occasion” against them for their breach of promise, he burned up their wheat crop.
The fact that these events occurred at the time of the feast of Pentecost gives them much meaning to us today. The day of Pentecost is characterized by fire. It is the day when God descended upon Mt. Sinai with the appearance of fire. It is the day the tongues of fire appeared on the heads of the 120 in the upper room.
There is also an element of judgment pictured in this fire. It is judgment upon the flesh. It is pictured in the two loaves of bread baked with leaven. The Church under Pentecost is also to inherit the second resurrection, which is associated with the “lake of fire,” because they will be “saved yet so as through fire.”
Thus, we see that the fire of Pentecost has both good news and bad news. It is good news for those who are led by the Spirit; it is bad news for the carnally minded.
So also with the story of Samson. The fire is bad news to the Philistines, for this fire becomes a judgment unto them. If we interpret this story with the knowledge that there is a difference between the overcomers and the Church, we get a deeper unders tanding of the mind of God.
The 300 jackals, or “foxes,” remind us of the 300 overcomers in Gideon's army, who brought God's judgment to the Midianites. (See The Barley Overcomers, pp. 11-14.) They are the ones who are “caught” by God and used to dispense the fire of the Holy Spirit to the world. When these receive the fullness of the Spirit at the time of the first resurrection, they will judge all flesh and bring the Spirit to all men.
After burning the Philistine wheat at Pentecost, Samson slew an unspecified number of Philistines (15:7, 8) and then went to the rock called Etam. The Philistines then sent an army to Judah to take revenge and encamped in the valley of Lehi (“jawbone”). The Judahites became very concerned, and so 3,000 went to him and convinced him to come down and surrender.
Notice that there were 3,000 Philistines in the army sent to take Samson, and there were 3,000 Judahites who went to bind Samson and hand him over to the Philistines. This is a number often associated with Pentecost. At Mt. Sinai during the time of that first Pentecost, the people fell into idolatry by worshipping the golden calf, and as a result, 3,000 men were subtracted from the church. In the New Testament, on the day of Pentecost 3,000 men were added to the Church. In the Old Testament the physical sword was used to kill the flesh to death. In the New Testament, the spiritual sword was used to kill the flesh in order to bring life.
The story of Samson must likewise be viewed in a New Testament context. In those days there was a physical slaughter of Philistines. But in the New Testament, we find a different method of killing the flesh. The physical sword has only the ability to kill and destroy. The sword of the Spirit (the Word of His mouth) has the ability to kill the flesh in a different manner that is constructive and rehabilitative.
Thus, the fire upon the wheat is “bad news” in the O.T., but “good news” in the New. We must not lose sight of the progression of history. In the Passover Age (O.T.), the way of dealing with sin is by death and destruction in a physical manner. In the Pentecost Age (33 AD to 1993 AD), we find a more merciful sword (of the Spirit and the word of our mouth). It kills the flesh, not the body.
It is pictured as the jawbone of a donkey. As we will show in our next chapter, donkeys and wheat are the two main pentecostal symbols in the Old Testament. When Samson kills the Philistines with the jawbone, it is a pentecostal prophecy of the slaying of the flesh by the gift of tongues. It is the sharp sword that comes out of one's mouth, and by it the disciples slew 3,000 on the day of Pentecost.
As we enter the Tabernacles Age, we will see the overcomers wield that Sword of the Spirit in absolute righteousness for the first time in history (since Jesus Christ). It will be used to bring all flesh under His feet. That will be the ministry of the overcomers. All “Philistines” will be overcome and will serve their Creator, bowing their knees to Jesus Christ, accepting Him as their King, and His Word as their only law.
Judges 16 tells the story of how Samson was finally overcome by the Philistines. Samson had been called to be a Nazarite (Judges 13:5). He was not to drink any wine or grape juice, nor was he to shave his head. (See also Numbers 6.)
The law of the Nazarite applied to those who were going to “separate themselves unto the Lord” (Num. 6:2). Samson did the opposite. He separated himself unto the Philistines in his repeated attempt to marry Philistine women.
One's hair is one's covering (1 Cor. 11:15). Israel was supposed to be covered only by God Himself. Because they had refused His covering, preferring to be covered by man, God removed His covering from them. You might think of man's covering as a wig – a fleshly covering.
Samson had apparently braided his hair into seven locks (Judges 16:19). This spoke of a time when those in the Pentecostal Age would be covered by the Seven Churches. It would be an age when men would demand to be ruled by men, rather than by God. (This is clear from the story of Saul.) And so we see Samson with seven locks of hair covering his head.
Such fleshly rulership is no match for the wits and wiles of Delilah. She is finally able to overcome Samson, even as we see in the church today. Over the past 40 Jubilees (33 to 1993 AD), while men slept, the Seven Churches under Pentecost has been shorn. In 1993 the final lock of the Laodicean Church was shorn, completing the time of the era of Pentecost.
This physical act of blinding Samson was only the final outworking of his spiritual blindness that had plagued him for many years. Even so, God still has His plan intact. Like Samson, the blind Pentecostal Church will yet be used of God to “bring down the house” upon the 3,000 Philistines.
God asks, “Who is so blind, but My servant?” (Is. 42:19). The blind servant theme is paramount in Isaiah. God Himself blinded their eyes (Is. 44:18; John 12:40) in order that He might be obligated by Law to release them from captivity. The divine laws reads in Exodus 21:26,
Samson appealed to God for the sake of his blinded eyes, and God heard him, for He had taken the responsibility for the blindness of the Church under Pentecost. Likewise, the blind Church shall also appeal to God, and He shall release them from the captivity of the flesh. This was God's purpose in blinding them--that He might have mercy upon them.
Issachar, the Strong Donkey
When Jacob gave his prophetic blessings to his twelve sons (the tribes of Israel), he called Issachar “a strong donkey lying down between the sheepfolds” (Gen. 49:14). Christians have wondered if Jacob was insulting his fifth son, or complimenting him in a backhanded way. Actually, he was prophesying that Issachar would be a type of pentecostal, for as we will see in this chapter, the lowly donkey is a biblical symbol of a pentecostal.
We have already seen in previous chapters that the donkey appeared in the stories of both Saul and Samson. Recall that Saul was searching for his father's donkeys when he went to Samuel and was crowned king of Israel on the day of Pentecost. Samson, too, burned the wheat of the Philistines, and then slew a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey around the time of Pentecost.
Both of Samson's acts run parallel to each other: burning the wheat is like killing the Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey.
When the fire came down on the 120 disciples on the day of Pentecost, it was the baptism of fire designed to burn the wheat chaff. We understand this also as a destruction of “the flesh,” brought about first by fire and then by the jawbone of the donkey (i.e., “speaking with tongues.” Please note that this is God's humor, not mine.)
Before we pursue the “donkey” theme, however, we must go back a few chapters in Genesis to circumstances surrounding Issachar's birth. Genesis 30:14-18 provides the real key to proving Issachar's connection with Pentecost.
Leah already had borne Jacob four sons, while Rachel was still childless and worried. Reuben was not yet four years old when he found the mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother as any child might. Mandrakes were considered to be a semi-magical plant that could somehow help women conceive. This is why Rachel wanted them so badly.
Leah, however, resented her sister because Jacob had always loved Rachel. Apparently, Jacob had been sleeping with Rachel all the time without giving Leah her turn (Ex. 21:10). So a deal was struck where Leah gave Rachel her son's mandrakes in exchange for a night with Jacob. This resulted in the conception of Issachar “in the days of wheat harvest,” later known as Pentecost.
Thus, Issachar is a type of pentecostal.
Leah and Rachel portray the difference between the Church and the overcomers (wheat and barley companies). Leah was married to Jacob, but Jacob loved Rachel, his other wife. In this context, we see that Issachar, Leah's son, is connected to the Church, rather than to the overcoming body.
Leah named her son Issachar because she had, in effect, “hired” Jacob to spend the night with her. This is the Hebrew meaning of his name. Thus, while Issachar was technically a son, he was also a manifestation of a hired servant. This has great implications throughout Scripture, particularly in dealing with the realm of Pentecost.
During the pentecostal age (33 - 1993 AD), the Church has been in a stage of servanthood. As Paul tells us so eloquently in Gal. 4:1-5,
Paul was born in the age of Passover (from the Exodus to the Crucifixion, 1446 BC to 33 AD). Thus, he uses the servant/son theme to explain how he and others were sons in a servanthood stage of development. This lasted until they came to Christ and received His Spirit, for then they entered experientially into the higher realm of Pentecost. Paul calls it “the time appointed of the Father” and “the fullness of the time.”
While this is certainly true, we must keep in mind that there is yet another appointed time to come which we know as the feast of Tabernacles. Even as Passover was a servant stage leading to Pentecost, so also is Pentecost a servant stage leading to Tabernacles.
When Paul refers to “the adoption of sons,” it comes from a single Greek word: huiothesia, “sonship.” It does not denote “adoption” in the modern sense of the word, where a man might adopt an orphan from another family. In those days when a son reached maturity, his father would formally give him the “sonship.” That is, the son could then act in the name of his father, and any contract he might sign would be legally binding as though his father had signed the contract himself. In other words, “sonship” deals with a position in the family, not in adopting orphans.
We need to understand this in order to make sense of Galatians 4:1. In Biblical days there were actually three ceremonies dealing with sonship. As might be expected, these correspond to the three feast days of Israel. The first ceremony took place shortly after the birth of the son. In earliest times the people had a great celebration at the time of the son's weaning, which often took place at about the age of two. However, this seems to have been replaced, or at least superceded later by the circumcision ceremony when the son was eight days old. Yet either way, these deal with the celebration of the birth of a son.
The second sonship ceremony was performed when the son reached the age of thirteen, today called in Jewish circles, the bar mitzvah. That was the second level of sonship, when the father began to seriously teach his son wisdom and the family trade. One might think of this bar mitzvah as a taste of the huiothesia, or an earnest of the sonship position.
The third sonship ceremony was the full sonship, often done when the son was twenty years old, so long as the son had proven himself to be an obedient servant. This ceremony gave the son full authority to make decisions in place of his father, for he possessed the mind of the father. He thought like his father. His values were the same as his father's. Ideally, he was a replication of his father, and thus the father knew that he could trust his son t o act in his stead.
Relating these ceremonies to the feast days of Israel, we see that Passover is like our birth as infant sons of God, when we are justified by faith. In this sense, all Christians by definition are sons of God. And so, John tells us that we are NOW the sons of God (1 John 3:2). But this does not mean we are fully-grown sons, or that we have received the huiothesia, for John also tells us that receiving Jesus (first level of sonship) gives us the additional authority to become the sons of God (John 1:12).
Pentecost is our bar mitzvah, the second level of sonship as teenagers. This is the real time of training, when the father begins to train his son in his craft as an apprentice and teach him the law. We who have received the Spirit of God also have entered into such training to prepare for the third-level sonship position.
The feast of Tabernacles gives us the prophetic pattern of third-level sonship, the huiothesia. It will be conferred upon those who have learned and matured under the first two stages of sonship. It will be conferred upon those who have the mind of their heavenly Father, who do only those things that they see their Father do. It will be conferred upon those who have learned to appreciate their Father's disciplines and rules of the house. It will be conferred upon those who have come into full agreement with their Father in all matters, for as long as there remains basic disagreements with His laws, methods, and policies, such sons do not yet have His mind, nor do they really understand Him at all.
If we look at the bigger picture, we can see how these three levels of sonship apply to Israel, the Church, and the Overcomers in the progression of history. In the Passover Age, Israel operated under the first level of divine authority, and God was with them from the beginning. Then came the time for God to do a new thing, for God's people had reached the spiritual age of thirteen. The day of Pentecost in the second chapter of Acts was, in this sense, the bar mitzvah of His sons.
In this pentecostal age the Spirit of God is within us. Our level of spiritual authority increased considerably to do the work of restoring the earth to Himself, for this is God's “trade” that He is teaching His sons. However, the “teen-age” Church has gone through its rebellious stage and generally thinks it knows everything. It has the impatience and overconfidence in its doctrinal positions that one would expect of a typical teenager. The Church knows just enough of the truth to think itself wise and has just enough sonship authority to be dangerous.
The biggest problem is that the Church thinks itself to be an adult and capable of deciding right from wrong without the need to consult the rules of the house (God's laws). In fact, some of these sons think God is too oppressive and does not really know what He is doing. They disagree with Him and make new rules that suit their understanding. It is not long before they think their own rules are, in fact, their Father's “new laws.” These are traditions of men.
Our growth in Christ is manifested mostly by our willingness to be a servant, not upon our insistence upon being treated as privileged sons. Those of our brethren today who insist upon being enthroned now are really acting like “spoiled brats.” They run around naming it and claiming it like children in a toy store. Their prosperity teachings closely resemble a teen's appetite for all the fine things in life – without working for it.
But who is willing to undergo the privations of the wilderness, so that they might be trained and disciplined as sons? Who is willing to learn the craft of their Father? Who is willing to step into the fire? In their immaturity many think of themselves as perfected sons, no longer in any need of such disciplines and training as servants. They think of themselves as spiritually mature and expect to be served, rather than to serve. Their revelation of sonship is distorted by their impatience.
We must learn responsibility today, in order to be given authority later. God always has His appointed time, and we need to know His Appointed Time as revealed in His Word.
The descendants of Issachar manifested the same servant character as their father. They received a good report in that they had a greater knowledge of God's timing than their brethren had. Their good report is found in 1 Chron. 12:32.
These understood the times, and therefore they knew what Israel ought to do. This particular passage deals with the men of Israel who came up to crown David king of all Israel (vs. 23 & 38). It was a Jubilee year, the 59th Jubilee from Adam. (See Secrets of Time.) The children of Issachar understood this, and so they knew that they were doing the right thing at the right time. In other words, if Pentecost truly has done its work in our hearts, we should have some idea of when David will be crowned king over all the earth, because we will have some understanding of “the times.”
On the other hand, the tribe of Issachar also manifests the realm of partial understanding and of insufficiency that is characteristic of Pentecost. The number of the children of Issachar who came to crown David king was just two hundred. Two hundred is the biblical number of insufficiency. (See Bullinger's Number in Scripture, p. 279.) For example, in John 6:7 we read,
Issachar's delegation was thus a numerical manifestation of insufficiency. We know, of course, that Pentecost is only an earnest of our inheritance. The level of spiritual anointing under Pentecost is insufficient for our perfection and obtaining the full promise that God has for us. The earnest of the Spirit is enough to make us good servants and to learn the mind of our Father, but we need a greater anointing of Tabernacles to bring us fully into third-level sonship.
Thus, when Jacob blessed his twelve sons, he said this about Issachar in Genesis 49:14, 15.
In Bullinger's notes on this passage, we read: “He preferred to pay tribute to the Canaanites, rather than engage in the struggle to expel them.” In other words, the tribe of Issachar lived in the Promised Land, but they did not fully INHERIT it until the reign of David. They remained as a servant, paying tribute to the Canaanites as a hired servant. The motive is what we call today the “prosperity message.” Pentecostals see that the resting place is good and the land pleasant. The goal becomes wealth, rather than truly inheriting the Promised Land. So they are content to be enslaved to worldly concerns.
As a pentecostal, Issachar is a “mixed bag.” There are good things about him, but there is also a level of insufficiency or incompletion. He is a lesson to us that we are to be good servants during our spiritual childhood, but that we are to grow up into Christ to inherit the full sonship.
In the pentecostal age we are to learn the art of good stewardship as a servant of God. Some learn this; most do not. Thus, there are two kinds of servants: the faithful and the oppressive. We are to strive to be good servants, learning to treat our fellow servants in a responsible manner. Those who learn this will be rewarded at the first resurrection, while those who oppress others will have to await the general resurrection of the dead.
The law of God forbids the oppression of one's servants, even bondservants. The foremost indicator of oppression was a master's refusal to give rest to the servants on the Sabbath days and Sabbath years. Exodus 21:2 says,
In other words, if a man had sold his land inheritance to pay off debt, he probably would not be able to get it back until the year of Jubilee, which occurred at the end of every 49 years (ten days into the 50th year). In such a case he would have to work for someone else as a servant on another man's land. God mandated that the master was not to oppress the servant, but let him go free each seventh year to the year of Jubilee.
The refusal to observe these rest years caused Israel much grief. Ultimately, the rest years they did not observe became the measure of Israel's judgment. For example, Judah went into the Babylonian captivity for 70 years, because they had been liable for 70 rest years and Jubilees which they never kept. In 2 Chron. 36:20, 21 we read,
Although Judah had never observed a Sabbath rest year or a Jubilee, God did give them one final opportunity to repent just prior to the Babylonian captivity (Jer. 34:8-16). In fact, at first the people did repent by setting free all their servants to keep that rest year. However, this repentance was short-lived, for we find them forcing all the servants back into servitude.
God would have turned aside the Babylonian armies if Judah had repented of oppressing their servants. But they did not, so Judah went into a 70-year captivity of their own. The judgment fit the crime. They would now know how it felt to be oppressed by the lawless ones of Babylon.
In the New Testament we find Jesus referring to this same law in Luke 12. Here He speaks of two kinds of servants: the “faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants” and, in contrast, the oppressive servant in verse 45:
We have already dealt with this passage in The Purpose of Resurrection. We showed how this refers to the separation between the Church and overcomers, or the wheat and barley companies. The faithful servants will receive the first resurrection, while the oppressive servants will have to wait another thousand years to get their reward at the same time as the unbelievers are raised – the general resurrection.
The question is, in practical terms, how does the Church oppress its members? Why does the wheat company not inherit the first resurrection with the barley company? What does the Church so often do that disqualifies them to receive their inheritance at the first harvest?
A Church or denomination tends to be characterized by its desire to increase its membership (servants). That is not wrong in itself, so long as they strive to bring those people into rest. Of course, the law of God is not being implemented in any nation in the world today. (The Israeli state makes some claim to be doing this, but they lease their land to Palestinians on the land-rest years, thus violating the whole spirit of the law.)
In general the Church has often operated much like the drug culture, making people dependent upon the Church for their spirituality or for their relationship with God. Other Churches or denominations are less oppressive, but they still have a tendency to make members dependent, rather than releasing them to God. Often the preacher beats the people, rather than feeding them, and such preachers think they are doing the will of God in this. There is more harangue than study of the Scriptures, more preaching than teaching, more stories and anecdotes than reading Scripture, more taking than giving.
In other words, the Church tends to manifest the character of King Saul, rather than of David. It tends to think of itself as a king that deserves the people's time and money on the grounds of its calling. But that is how King Saul thought, and God rejected him from establishing an enduring dynasty.
The bottom line is that the Church often beats its servants and oppresses them without teaching them how to enter into God's rest. Thus, these servants wander around in the wilderness all their lives, even as the children of Israel under Moses. They have no vision for the true House of God, as David and Solomon had, where the ark would finally find a place of rest (1 Kings 8:6-8).
In other words, the Church continues to teach the people about the Passover experience and even about Pentecost; but it has no vision of Tabernacles. Most have never even heard of it. This gap in their teaching oppresses their servant membership by hiding from them their right to enter God's Rest. Without such a vision, the people perish.
We are now past the Age of Pentecost. Even as King Saul the pentecostal ruled for 40 years, even so has God given the Church to oppressive rulers for most of its 40 Jubilees (1960 years). Even as “the church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38) wandered in the wilderness under Moses for 40 years, so also has the Church in the New Testament wandered in its own wilderness for 40 Jubilees. This age came to an end in 1993, precisely 40 Jubilees after the pentecostal age began in the second chapter of Acts.
We are now in the transition between Pentecost and Tabernacles. The time to prepare our hearts for sonship is upon us. We are the generation that will receive the adoption of sons without seeing death. But to do this, we must let go of Pentecost and catch the vision of a better promise, a better anointing, a “better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35). We must understand and admit the insufficiency of Pentecost in our lives in order to strive for the fullness of the Spirit under Tabernacles.
Ishmael, the Wild-Donkey Man
Ishmael was born to Abram and Hagar fourteen years before Sarah gave birth to Isaac. The full story of Hagar and Ishmael is found in Genesis 16.
According to the ancient book of Jasher, Hagar was an Egyptian princess, the daughter of Pharaoh. Pharaoh gave her to Sarah in restitution for placing Sarah in his harem after Abram told him she was his “sister.” The Biblical account does not tell us anything about Hagar, the Egyptian, until Sarah gives her to Abram as a wife in order to bring forth an heir. While Genesis 16 does tell us she was an Egyptian, it says nothing about how Sarah came to acquire her. Jasher fills in some of those interesting details.
When Hagar conceived a child by Abram, she despised Sarah for her barrenness. Her attitude is understandable, seeing that she was a princess by birth. Do not think of Hagar as an unbeliever, however. In Abram's house she would have learned the ways of God quite thoroughly in the ten years since she had been given to Sarah.
Hagar can be considered a believer in the God of Abram. But in her spiritual immaturity she made the mistake of thinking that God had called her to replace Sarah in bringing forth the promised son. This would only be a natural assumption, seeing as how Sarah was barren. As we will show in this chapter, Hagar and Ishmael are types of the Church under the pentecostal anointing.
Hagar was indeed married to Abram, but she was not called to bring forth the promised son. Her mistaken assumption is precisely the view of the Church under its pentecostal anointing. It has generally been assumed by most pentecostals that their position as God's wife means they can birth the Manchild, the child of promise. But as with Hagar, this is not meant to be. Only those under the anointing of Tabernacles can birth the Manchild.
At any rate, Sarah deeply resented Hagar's attitude and treated her harshly (Gen. 16:6). She probably treated Hagar as harshly as those in the sonship message treat the pentecostal Church today. Thus, we find in the story that Hagar fled into the wilderness, where an angel found her. The angel prophesied to her regarding the character and future of her son, Ishmael. Genesis 16:9-12 says,
The first thing to note is that the name Ishmael means “God will hear.” Built into the name is the concept of hearing. God heard Hagar's prayer, and in response, God sent an angel to give Hagar the Word, which she also heard. God heard, and Hagar heard.
Hearing is the essence of Pentecost, as we have already shown in previous chapters. In fact, at the first Pentecost under Moses, when Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord (Ex. 19:8), God heard their vow. As a consequence, God spoke to the people directly, revealing to them the Ten Commandments, and all the people heard the voice of God. Their experience that day was very similar to that of Hagar. Deut. 5:24 describes it.
Compare this with Hagar's experience in talking with the angel of God. Genesis 16:13, 14 tells us that the angel talked with her at a well, which she then called Beer-lahai-roi, “the well of living after seeing.” She was astonished that she could survive an interview with God, or the angel. In the same manner, Israel later was astonished that man could live after God talked with them.
At this time in history, they apparently did not realize that God's Plan was to reach down to us in this earthly plane, that He was to come here, rather than for us to go there. They were correct in thinking that the full presence of God would kill them in their present carnal condition; however, they did not seem to know that God had ways of manifesting Himself in lesser forms, such as angels. More than this, they had little concept that God would actually manifest Himself by putting His Spirit within human flesh. This revelation was for a later time.
At the fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost in the book of Acts, God again came down as fire and spoke to all in their own language out of the midst of that divine fire. (See Deut. 4:12 and Acts 2:3, 4.)
Getting back to our narrative of Hagar, the word of the angel adjusted Hagar's attitude and perspective. She then returned and submitted to Sarah with the attitude of a good, humble servant. This is a lesson to those under the pentecostal anointing. Learn to submit as faithful and obedient servants.
The angel also said Ishmael would be a “wild-donkey man.” The King James Version simply reads that he would be a “wild man,” but the Hebrew text reads “wild-donkey man.” The Hebrew word pereh is translated “wild donkey” every other time it appears in the Bible. The word is used in Job 6:5; 11:12; 24:5; 39:5; Psalm 104:11; Isaiah 32:14; Jeremiah 2:24; 14:6; and Hosea 8:9. Each time the word pereh is translated “wild donkey.”
The word awdawm is attached to pereh only in Genesis 16:12, where it is applied to Ishmael. Awdawm simply means “man” unless it is preceded by a definite article, in which case it refers specifically to Adam himself. Thus, we see that the angel called Ishmael a “wild donkey man.” It was meant to describe his character, not his genetics.
Yet keep in mind that the donkey is the biblical symbol of a pentecostal as well. Ishmael is an Old Testament pentecostal type in a great historical allegory. The story admonishes us to go beyond the Ishmael stage of spiritual development. It teaches us how to be like Isaac, the Manchild of Tabernacles.
Jeremiah described Jerusalem as “a wild donkey used to the wilderness” (Jer. 2:24). It pictures the city as a wild donkey during her month in heat, when her passions led her to search out lovers among strangers in the wilderness.
The northern House of Israel, too, was pictured as a wild donkey, and this was why God divorced her and sent her away into the Assyrian captivity. Hosea 8:8-10 reads,
There is no doubt that Hosea had Issachar in mind, the one whose name means hired. Recall that Leah had “hired” Jacob to lie with her when she traded the mandrakes for a night with Jacob (Gen. 30:18). The Hebrew word used in Hosea above is tawnaw, which is not the same as the root of the name Issachar; however, tawnaw means “to bargain,” and this does express the actions of Leah and Rachel perfectly.
The tribe of Issachar was one of those carried into the Assyrian captivity with the rest of the northern tribes of Israel. All the tribes became like Issachar, a wild donkey who bargains with lovers in the wilderness in order to hire them as prostitutes. In other words, when the prophets tell us that both Israel and Jerusalem were like wild donkeys, they were identifying them as spiritual Ishmaelites, or as spiritual Issachars. They continually turned away from God, their Husband, and sought whatever lovers of the nations they could find.
The character of men under the anointing of Pentecost is recorded in Hosea and other places only to let us know how inadequate we are and how insufficient is our pentecostally-anointed ability to overcome. When we see this in ourselves, then the Spirit of God has truly done his work in us, for only when we lose all confidence in the flesh can we hope to inherit the full Promise.
What God said about Israel through Hosea is also applicable to the wild donkeys of the pentecostal realm: “Even, though they have hired allies among the nations, now I will gather them up” (Hosea 8:10). Though we are terribly imperfect, God will gather us in His roundup and lead us back to Himself.
We know that this will not be done all at once. It will take time, for there is more than one appointed time for gathering the people. There were three appointed times when God called all the males to appear before Him in Jerusalem: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Even so, there are three appointed times when God will call a corporate body to stand before Him.
We see these appointed times as “harvests” also: first the barley, then the wheat, and finally the grape harvest. The day is nearly upon us when the barley company will be called forth, some raised from the dead, others changed without dying. But there is also hope for the wheat company (the Church) and the grape company (creation). They will yet have their day.
In Genesis 16 we read how Abram took Hagar, the Egyptian princess, and brought forth Ishmael, the “wild-donkey man.” This set into motion a series of events that affected history in both the short-term and the long-term. In short-term history, there was a conflict between Ishmael and Isaac, who was born 14 years later. Paul tells us in Gal. 4:29 that the son of the bondwoman persecuted (oppressed) the son of the freewoman. That oppression was manifested on a long-term cycle of history as well, when Israel was oppressed by Egypt. This is the great allegory that is of special interest to us now.
What Abram did in short-term history, God repeated in long-term history. Abram married Hagar, the Egyptian, to bring forth Ishmael, the promised son (so he thought). And so God married Egypt to bring forth Israel, the promised son, who came forth as a spiritual Ishmaelite.
Egypt was never God's wife in the fullest sense of the word. Yet it was the same as Abram's relationship with Hagar. Genesis 16:3 says Sarah “gave her to her husband Abram as his wife.” But Hagar was only a bondwoman, and Bible law makes a very clear distinction between marrying a free woman and marrying a bondwoman. (See Exodus 21:1-10 as well as Paul's distinction in Galatians 4.)
Even as Hagar's wifely status was less from Sarah's, so also was Egypt's wifely status of a lesser nature. Nonetheless, Israel was the product of a relationship between God and Egypt. When God told Moses to return to Egypt to lead Israel out of the house of bondage, He gave him these instructions in Ex. 4:22, 23.
Every son must have a father and a mother. In this case God states emphatically that He was Israel's Father. In order for this type to make any sense, we must consider Egypt to be the mother of Israel. Moses might be thought of a kind of midwife telling Egypt to allow the son to be birthed. “Let My people go,” he tells Egypt. “Give birth to the firstborn son of God.”
When the time comes to give birth to a son, there is no woman in the world who can stop the labor pains. To fight the birthing process only makes things worse. But this is precisely what Egypt did, and this caused them to “die” in childbirth.
The fact that Egypt was Israel's mother is also made clear in subsequent years. Every time Israel would run out of food or water, their first impulse was to run to mama (Egypt). Or to put it another way, the purpose of their wilderness sojourn was to instruct them and discipline them (Deut. 4:36). Every time Israel's Father disciplined them, they wanted to run to mother Egypt for comfort. This is typical of children in their immature state. They view discipline as oppressive until they are mature – at which time they understand and agree that it was for their good.
The idea that God took Egypt as a bondwife to bring forth Israel as His firstborn son is best argued in the light of how the subsequent events actually transpired. If we can show that Israel was a spiritual Ishmaelite, then the type is proven. We have already shown from Jeremiah 2:24 and Hosea 8:8-10 that Israel was later compared to a wild donkey. We will now show that Israel was considered to be a type of “donkey” right from the beginning.
When God brought Israel out of Egypt, He was in the process of taking His firstborn son unto Himself, separating him unto Himself. And so this was done by the law of the firstborn. This law was first given (by Moses) on the day of Passover, as recorded in Ex. 13:11-13.
Note what God says here: All the firstborn of man and beast are His and are to be given unto Him. However, all the firstborn males of the DONKEYS are NOT to be given to God directly. Firstborn donkeys are to be redeemed by a lamb, “and every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.”
In essence, God is calling Israel a DONKEY. If they had been lambs, they would not need redemption. The fact that they need to be redeemed makes them spiritual donkeys, or spiritual Ishmaelites. This is why the feast of Passover was so important. It was the day on which all the firstborn of the donkeys were redeemed with a lamb.
From then on in the Scriptures, Israelites are called “sheep.” This is pr oper only because they had been redeemed at Passover by the lamb. Without that redemption, Psalm 100:3 would have to read, “We are His people, and the DONKEYS of His pasture.”
Pharaoh refused to allow Israel to go three days into the wilderness to keep this feast of Passover, as Moses had requested in Exodus 5:1-3. Pharaoh – by his refusal – fell under the penalty of the law that “if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck” (Ex. 13:13). Pharaoh became liable for attempting to stop the donkey's redemption. This liability is what killed Pharaoh's firstborn son. He was executed according to the law of the firstborn.
When we are justified by faith in the blood of the Lamb (our Passover experience), we are birthed into the family of God as immature sons. When we receive the Spirit (Pentecost), signifying phase two of the sonship process, we are still only spiritual teenagers. Both of these phases of sonship deal with us as “minors,” and as such we differ nothing from a servant, though we be lord of all.
As we have already shown in our study of Issachar, both of these states of spiritual immaturity are pictured biblically as a donkey, for the donkey is a servant. We start out as wild donkeys, and then God begins to train us and break us to be lowly servants. We are birthed as donkeys and redeemed by the Lamb, so that when God looks at us, He sees only Jesus, the Lamb of God. The Lamb has been given as a substitute for all of spiritual donkeys.
When Hagar became pregnant with Ishmael, she developed a wrong attitude of pride, thinking that her calling was above that of Sarah. And so, Sarah dealt harshly with her, and finally she fled. In the wilderness, Hagar ran out of water and despaired for her life. Then an angel met Hagar. Genesis 16:13, 14 says,
This well was the place where God heard Hagar's prayer, and where Hagar heard the angel's promise. Thus, it should in some way manifest Pentecost, if our interpretation of types and shadows is correct.
We have already mentioned earlier that it was assumed in ancient times that if anyone were to actually see God, they would die immediately. While that view was technically correct, God had a way of manifesting Himself without killing all in sight. He sent angels in flesh form to convey His Word to men.
This was Hagar's pentecostal encounter, and she heard God in the same way that Israel heard the voice of God at Mt. Sinai. As a result, she named her son Ishmael, which means “God hears.” Hearing God's voice and seeing Him is the essence of Pentecost.
The focus upon Vision, or seeing, is discussed by the prophet Joel in 2:28, 29. He shows that the outpouring of the Spirit would manifest the Hagar experience on a larger scale:
In other words, the young men would “see visions.” Also the “servants” would receive something from God. This describes Hagar, the handmaid of Sarah, as well as Issachar, the hired servant-donkey.
Hagar's visitation came at a well “between Kadesh and Bered” (Gen. 16:14). “Kadesh” means sanctuary, a place or person who is sanctified, holy, or set aside for divine service. “Bered” means hail. Hail itself is a biblical symbol for truth, for we read in Isaiah 28:17, “the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies.” Isaiah 28 is the great pentecostal chapter in the Old Testament dealing with the gift of tongues. Paul quotes from it in 1 Cor. 14:21 in dealing with the subject of tongues.
More importantly, Jesus said that the Spirit of God would lead them into all truth (1 John 16:13). The path to truth leads through the wilderness, where the angel found Hagar. So there is significance in Hagar's location “between Kadesh and Bered.” The true pentecostal anointing was supposed to bring men into sanctification and truth. And yet we find that Hagar was somewhere between sanctification and truth. In other words, it is plainly stated that pentecostals would not actually arrive at the place of either sanctification or truth before running out of water. Their tendency is always to search for sanctification and truth while on their way to Egypt. In other words, the Church under Pentecost tends to look in all the wrong places and ends up somewhere between sanctification and truth.
Genesis 16:7 tells us that Hagar was actually trying to run back to Egypt, her homeland. It says the angel found her “in the way to Shur,” which was the wall at the border of Egypt. Four centuries later, Israel, the spiritual Ishmaelite often wished to return to Egypt during their wilderness wandering. This wild-donkey pattern had already been set many years by Hagar. This desire for the things of Egypt is characteristic of the Church in the wilderness, both then and now.
In today's manifestation we find that the Church has been in its own wilderness for 40 Jubilees (33 - 1993 AD), even as Israel was 40 years in the wilderness under Moses. The Church under its pentecostal anointing lacks the water of the Spirit to reach Bered, the place of truth.
The examples of the Old Testament pentecostals in previous chapters all show the tendency to “return to Egypt,” the flesh, the world. Samson loved Philistine women; Saul put Israel into bondage to himself; Issachar coexisted with the Canaanites. All these examples establish the meaning of Hagar's attempt to return to Egypt, and the angel finding her somewhere between sanctification and truth.
Thank God that He has not spurned us for our carnality and weakness, but has chosen instead to reach down to us while we are yet sinners. Without this grace, we would all be undone. There is no way we could be changed from donkeys to lambs by our own power.
Getting back to Hagar's situation as it relates to the Church under Pentecost, the angel told Hagar to return and submit to the freewoman. This is the path that leads to both sanctification and truth. This path leads away from Egypt. It leads to the door of Sarah and Isaac, who represents both Christ and the overcomers (the Head and His body).
In previous chapters we have shown examples of the insufficiency of the pentecostal anointing and how it must be superceded by the greater anointing of Tabernacles. In order to do that, one must be willing to give up the lesser realm in favor of the new work that God is doing. Thus it should be no surprise to see that in this great historical allegory, God commands Abraham to cast out Hagar and Ishmael, the bondwo man and her son (Gen. 21:10, quoted also in Gal. 4:30).
In biblical terms one cannot have two heirs of this promise. It is either Ishmael or Isaac. Will those of Pentecost inherit the promise? Will they bring in the kingdom of God? Will they birth the Manchild? No, this cannot be, for they yet remain half Egyptian, half fleshly. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 15:50).
So it is with the Church under Pentecost. King Saul lit the sacrifice with strange fire (1 Sam. 13:9) lest the people be scattered. Often a church or denomination will do the same, by staging their own revivals. They feel they must do this, lest their members leave their church for another. Saul was disqualified from ruling.
Samson could not deliver Israel because of his desire to marry Philistine women. This desire finally put him into blind bondage to the flesh (Judges 16:21). Samson was disqualified from ruling.
Issachar preferred to coexist with the Canaanites, giving up his inheritance to the ungodly, even as the Church today has done when it calls non-Christian people “chosen.” Issachar was also disqualified.
All the biblical types and shadows of Pentecost have been fulfilled in the Church today, and thus, God has rejected the Church as well. This does not mean the Church will not be saved. Far from it. It simply means that the wheat company is leavened and is therefore not qualified to rule in the kingdom. It means that the wheat company will not inherit the first resurrection, but will have to await the general resurrection later.
In order for the true Manchild (Isaac) to be born, Ishmael must first be cast out. In order for true freedom to be brought to the earth, the bondwoman must first be cast out. In order for David to rule, Saul must die at the end of his appointed 40-Jubilee reign of bondage.
All these stories point to one stark reality: the Church under Pentecost cannot birth the promised seed any more than Hagar could. For a time, God has commanded the Hagar-Church to return to Abraham's house and submit as a servant. But these of Hagar who persecute the promised seed show that they do not know how to be good servants under tutors and governors. They have an attitude problem and are disqualified from sonship.
The Church was cast out at Pentecost of 1993 on their 40th Jubilee anniversary. Saul's 40 years ended. The pentecostal realm then began to lose its authority, even as God began to move to empower His overcomers. Like David, these overcomers will prevail over Saul. Like Sarah, they will bring forth the Manchild.
We as individuals must know how to identify with Isaac, rather than with Ishmael, that we might be a part of the Manchild company. Let us not think we have already arrived at the full sonship by virtue of our justification or by virtue of our pentecostal experience. Let us go on to perfection and know the pain and joy of birthing the Manchild at Tabernacles.
In the fourth chapter of Galatians, Paul tells us that the story of Hagar and Sarah is a historical allegory of the Old and New Covenants. Beginning with Gal. 4:22 we read,
Paul's primary thrust is to show the difference between the followers of Moses and those who followed Jesus Christ. Those who claimed to follow Moses were depending upon the Old Covenant, with its sign of fleshly circumcision, for their salvation. Christians, on the other hand, were of a New Covenant, whose sign was a heart circumcision.
The Old Covenant demanded obedience to the law in order for men to be saved (Lev. 26). On the other hand, the New Covenant puts all demands upon God to save us through Jesus Christ, regardless of the works of men. The divine law is a function of Pentecost, not of Passover. Pentecost is the proper celebration of the giving of the law, for it commemorated the voice of God as He spoke to Israel at Sinai.
The early Church in Paul's day had a problem with some individuals and groups that taught a mixture of these two covenants. They felt that men were saved by both law and grace, by their own will and by God's will. In other words, they taught that they were saved by the pattern laid down at Sinai in Exodus 19:5-8. That passage says,
This is the conditional nature of the covenant. It is conditional upon the will and decisions of man, followed, of course, by their ability to fulfill their vow of obedience. Leviticus 26 makes it clear that if they broke their vow and were disobedient, then God would no longer be obligated to save them, but would cast them out of their inheritance.
On the other hand, Paul tells us that the New Covenant is based upon the Abrahamic pattern, which is “by promise” (Gal. 3:18). In other words, it is something that God alone promised, and therefore, this covenant makes demands only upon God. If we read the story of how God made that promise to Abram in Genesis 15:12, we see that God put Abram to sleep, and God walked between the dead halves of the sacrificed animals by Himself to seal the covenant promise by blood. Thus, it is called an unconditional covenant, with no “if” clauses that would make salvation dependent upon man's will or obligations.
And so, Paul's discussion of Hagar and Sarah is a discussion of these two covenants: the one being conditional upon man's will and cooperation; the other being conditional only upon God's ability to fulfill His promise to save. Because these covenants are based on opposite conditions, one cannot be under both at the same time.
This is the force of Paul's argument against the Judaizers who taught that the people had to be under both covenants in order to be saved. Paul was dealing with the Hagar problem of the Church under Pentecost. Remember that Pentecost began at Mt. Sinai under Moses. It was the place where the Old Covenant originated. Pentecost is a feast day commemorating the establishment of the Old Covenant. It is only natural, then, that the Church would still be under that influence.
The most important fact to see is that Pentecost in Acts 2 occurred in the old Jerusalem, which, Paul says, relates to the bondwoman “for she is in slavery with her children” (Gal. 4:25). Paul contrasts this with the New “Jerusalem above,” wherein the feast of Tabernacles originates. Those who remain under Pentecost are yet in partial bondage to the Old Covenant.
The vast majority of the Church today teaches that men can only be saved by making a vow or “decision” to fol low Jesus. Their appeal is to the will of man, which they say is absolutely necessary for salvation. Such Christians are all children of Hagar, the bondwoman, laboring to fulfill the vows in order to be saved. When they sin, the “fall from grace.” When they repent, they are again eligible to enter the pearly gates. They go to church and “get saved” every week, year after year, because every time they sin or fall short in any way, they think that their sin proves they are not really saved yet.
This is the bondage of Hagar and her son, the old Jerusalem. This is the nature of the Old Covenant. This is the natural result of salvation by the will of man and by human performance. Pentecost teaches that man must be born again by the will of the flesh, even as Ishmael was birthed through a fleshly, natural process. But the New Covenant of Tabernacles teaches that man must be born again by the will of God, even as Sarah conceived in her old age when she was past childbearing, and as Mary conceived in her youth without having known any man. John 1:12, 13 says,
In other words, we are begotten of God by His will and decision, not by the will of man. The example is Jesus. Those who conceive “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27) are likewise with child by the will of God, not by the will of man. In other words, one cannot conceive the Manchild under the power of Pentecost, which is based upon man's will, man's vows, man's decision to follow Christ. The Old Covenant cannot bring forth the perfection of Tabernacles.
It is a good thing to decide to follow Jesus and to be obedient to His law. This decision is the point where we bear witness to what God is doing in our lives (Rom. 8:16). It is our response to the will and work of God. It is the point where we become conscious that God has called us. There was a purpose for the Sinai covenant. That purpose was to teach us obedience and discipline, not to save us. We are saved by the unconditional covenant with Abraham, ratified by Jesus at the Cross.
Other Pentecostal Stories
We have attempted in this study to present the main players in the field of Old Testament Pentecostals, in order to impart a greater understanding of the strengths and limitations of the feast of Pentecost. We have also presented the two main symbols of Pentecost in the Bible: wheat and donkeys. Armed with this knowledge, anyone can do their own word studies to delve into this subject further. In this concluding chapter we will try to direct attention to certain other passages that a reader may now study in a new light.
In 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21 we find the story of how David numbered the people, bringing a plague upon Israel that killed 70,000 people. This incident took place at the time of Pentecost, for we read that David bought the threshing floor from Ornan the Jebusite while he was threshing wheat (1 Chr. 21:20). While we cannot deal with the details of this incident in David's life, we can make the point that God was threshing Israel while Ornan was threshing wheat. There is a parallel here that most have missed, not realizing that this was the time of Pentecost.
But in this incident, David bought the site for Solomon's Temple, which was later to be dedicated at the feast of Tabernacles some years later. Thus, the events of this Pentecost were a prelude to Tabernacles that was yet to come. During that interim we see the establishment of David's Tabernacle with an altar of burnt offering outside of it (1 Chron. 21:26).
David's Tabernacle was thus the bridge between Pentecost and Tabernacles. When David built the altar there, God sent His divine Fire to accept and consume the offering laid upon those stones. There is no record that God had done this for many years at the other locations where the ark of the covenant stood. This is a type and shadow – and indeed a prophecy – that the divine presence would shift from the ordained place, where one would expect to find God, to another place that seemed to be “out of order.”
In the same manner we find a basic conflict today between the Church and the overcomers. The Church criticizes many overcomers for leaving the Church to set up their own home Bible studies, for it is their opinion that God must be found in an “established” Church denomination or at least in a Church that possesses a building apart from one's home. They do not see that this very pattern was established by David's Tabernacle. David feared to go to Gibeon, where the ark was, “because he was terrified by the sword of the angel of the Lord” (1 Chr. 21:30). In the same way many “fear” to go to a Church, fearing the sword that threshes the wheat company.
David bought the threshing floor of Ornan by giving him an immediate downpayment of 50 shekels of silver (2 Sam. 24:24). However, the full price of this land came to 600 shekels of silver, and this is recorded in 1 Chron. 21:25. There is no inherent contradiction in these two passages when we see that the lesser amount was an immediate downpayment. In fact, the 50 shekels of silver represent the feast of Pentecost, wherein the disciples received the downpayment of the Spirit on the 50th day. The 600 shekels of gold speaks of the divine nature that is imparted through the feast of Tabernacles.
In the story of Gideon we find the angel appearing to him while he was threshing wheat in a winepress (Judges 6:11). Gideon himself is compared to a barley cake (or loaf), identifying him as a type of overcomer (Judges 7:13). Yet he was threshing wheat when called of God. This tells us the mind of God in this story, for we later find Gideon cutting down some thorns and briers in the wilderness and giving the elders a threshing (Judges 8:16). The story gives us another example of the distinction God makes between the barley and wheat, as well as an example of how the wheat company must be threshed in order to remove its chaff and save the germ (life).
Another very important example of Pentecost is found in 1 Samuel 6:13. The ark of God had been captured by the Philistines, who held it for seven months before returning it to Israel. They returned it at the time of wheat harvest, giving this story a pentecostal theme. The people were glad to see the ark, but they made the mistake of opening up the ark to see if it still contained the stone tablets, Aaron's rod, and the pot of manna. Many died that day as a result. The anointing of Pentecost is not sufficient to survive opening the ark.
In the New Testament, Jesus told a parable of the tares in the wheat (Matt. 13:24-30). This is not unlike the Pentecostal offering, which was mixed with leaven. In the parable we are told that the tares would be allowed to grow in the wheat field until the harvest. Then the tares would be separated and burned. While there are certainly other levels of interpretation, we can see here the symbolism of the pentecostal offering, wheat baked with leaven. The leaven had to be baked, or killed, in order to make the offering acceptable to God. This, we believe, is what Paul meant when he said in 1 Cor. 3:15, “he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire.”
The most famous of all biblical donkeys is the one owned by Balaam. The full story is found in Numbers 22-24. Balaam is the classic “false prophet” of the Bible – not that he ever prophesied things that did not come to pass, but rather that he was not in agreement with God. He did all he could to find a loophole in order to be able to curse Israel, rather than prophesy good about them.
His motive was, of course, a love of money, which is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10).
At any rate, we find that Balaam, the false prophet, rides a pentecostal donkey, who is one of the first to speak in tongues. While the Hebrew “tongue” was not unknown to Balaam, it was certainly an unknown tongue to the donkey.
I find it particularly fascinating (and a bit disgusting) to observe modern preachers and prophets today, especially when I see how much time they spend asking for money and how little time they spend teaching the Word. It seems that there is only about a billion dollars a year out there in America, and so many find they must compete to get their fair share. In the past many of us were appalled that some well-known televangelists actually made people pay to stand in a prayer line for healing, whether they were actually able to be prayed for or not. But in recent months some have begun to strongly suggest that if they are really sincere in seeking God, they will give at least $100 when the offering plate is passed.
While I will resist the carnal temptation to name some of these modern Balaams, I will not hesitate to point out their connection to the story in the book of Numbers. My only advice to you, if you are being ridden by such men, is to get off the path of judgment, as Balaam's donkey did. Yes, this might crush the foot of Balaam and make him quite angry with you (Num. 22:25), but if he kicks you out from under his authority, rather than repenting before God, consider yourself blessed.
If you are led to speak the Word of God to such a man, as Balaam's donkey did, do not be surprised if he refuses to hear you. If he could have heard you, he woul d have heard the voice of God directly in the matter. Remember: Balaam argued with his donkey. These Balaams will always try to make you feel guilty so that they may continue to hold you in bondage to themselves; but if your allegiance is to Jesus Christ, rather than to men, you cannot go wrong.
We live in a time of a famine of hearing the Word (Amos 8:11). God has given us a number of illustrations of this in the Old Testament. One of the most prominent is found in 2 Kings 6:25, during a siege of Samaria.
The people were reduced to eating donkey's heads and dove's dung. In eating donkey's heads, they were feeding on a pentecostal anointing that was dead and could not speak the Words of God in any language. In eating dove's dung, they were feeding on the evidence of a past movement of the Spirit (dove).
What David lamented at the eulogy of king Saul can be said of the Church today: “How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!” (2 Sam. 1:25). Like all movements that begin with a genuine Word from God, Pentecost has finally become fully leavened. It does not mean that the wheat is ruined. It simply means that the time of Pentecost has ended as prophesied throughout the Scriptures. God will bake the pentecostal offering in His time. This is the purpose of tribulation that is coming. Much of the Church thinks it will escape tribulation, not knowing the purpose of the fire of God and how pentecostal bread must be baked in order to be presentable to God.
But meanwhile, God is doing a new thing in the earth, as He anoints His barley company for divine service. They will rule in the age to come, for they will receive the full promised inheritance of the feast of Tabernacles. For a full study of God's plan for this final feast, see our book, The Laws of the Second Coming.
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