Saturday, May 15, 2021

Letter to our Friends - May 14, 2021


Leonard V. Johnson

Greetings from Spring Hill, Florida:

The glorious and Holy Day of Pentecost is upon us!

With the sequence in the Book of Exodus, the Jews (and they are called Jews because they are from the tribe of Judah, from the kingdom of Judah – cf. 2 Kings 16:6, KJV. Recall, the kingdom of Israel divided) rightly believe that the Day of Pentecost is when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments inscribed upon stone tablets. But, the Day of Pentecost is even more than this – it has a most AWESOME MEANING! And for this Holy Day of Pentecost – 2021 I teach on the most significant and important meaning of this holy day. Much more than just the gifting of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the New Testament Church of God!

‘On the Sabbaths Day’

Pentecost is from sunset May 15th through to sunset May 16th this year. As always, this means two Sabbaths – back-to-back.

Now, one does not grow in grace and knowledge without gaining knowledge. We must continue to grow spiritually. So, in addition to sermons on our YouTube channels, we have a website devoted to articles in helping you shine a little brighter with the light of Christ -

The apostle Peter wrote, under the inspiration of God’s Spirit –
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts …” – meaning set your heart apart and consider it holy unto the LORD our God. “ … and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” – 1st Peter 3:15, KJV.

“You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, BEWARE lest you fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” – 2nd Peter 3:17-18, NKJV.
The Day of Pentecost

Most who profess Christ know something about Pentecost. Many properly consider it the beginning of the New Testament Church of God.

The apostles were told to wait in Jerusalem to receive the power of the Holy Spirit –
“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard Me; 5) for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ – Acts 1:4-5; NKJV and hereafter unless otherwise noted.
So, they waited. And –
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” – Acts 2:1.
Notice it was when the Day of Pentecost had fully come. The Bible is clear that the events that follow were directly related to the fact that the Day of Pentecost had fully come. And the apostles were all observing it together.

Here is what happened –
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven [the sky], as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3) Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [languages], as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

38) Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39) For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off [in the generations to come], as many as the Lord our God will call.’ 40) And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ 41) Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 47) [P]raising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the Church daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:2-4, 38-42, 47.
They received some of the power of God’s Spirit. The Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, the greater majority of Protestants, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Church of God all believe that this was the beginning of the New Testament Church of God. And rightly so. The Holy Spirit (be sure to watch “The Truth Concerning the Trinity Explained” which Facebook tried to ban a few weeks ago now (that issue has been resolved, though now they have banned a gospel song performed by Minister Michael C. Garrett, “Amazing Grace”) was gifted at a certain time (the same time that many Jews observed Pentecost).

That was not a coincidence.

Many may not realize that Pentecost represented more than just the gifting of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the New Testament Church of God.

Minister Michael C. Garrett has this to say concerning the Day of Pentecost –
“Christ In You! … we must have God’s Spirit which is represented by the Feast of Pentecost. And so, individual salvation – that Plan is given to us in the Spring Holy Days. … The Spring Holy Days are a continuum. What happens in Passover and Unleavened Bread, and down as you get into the Feast of Pentecost – a continuous series of events which are all interrelated and intertwined. And the same thing is true with the Fall Holy Days. …

Just a quick perusal, turn to Acts 2 – the account of where we read about the Day of Pentecost – when God for the first time pours out His Spirit in mass on human beings. Now keep in mind there had been multiple times throughout biblical history where God indeed had given His Spirit to servants and prophets of God. But here on this day, on A.D. 31, something very special happened. And, we won’t read every Scripture here, but let’s go to verse 21 of Acts chapter 2 – “’ And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD [the Lord Jesus Christ] Shall be saved.’” Verse 22 – “Men of Israel [and you men of the different organizations which want to be a part of the kingdom of God and wish to pursue the teachings of this Bible], hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know – 23) Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken …” this is Peter speaking to the men, some of which have called for His death. Some of which, just a few days before – a month-and-a-half before – were chanting ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’ And yet, here, Peter says, “by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24) whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He [Jesus Christ] should be held by it …” - isn’t that a beautiful concept!? Jesus Christ walked out of the tomb! And by that He established a pattern, and an example that someday all of us who is called His sisters and brothers, His friends, will someday have the same opportunity!! If we die before the return of Jesus Christ we too will walk out of our graves! I love that thought!

Verse 38 – listen carefully to what Peter says – this is an extremely well-known and recited verse; this is a foundational Scripture that all of us need to know about, think about, and appreciate. And give thanks to Jesus Christ because it’s in the Book! The reality of it – it is true! “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, …’” – what does the word repent mean!? It means simply change your ways. Change your direction. Change your focus. Change your goals. Change your motivation. “…’ Repent, and let every one of you be baptized…’” – and listen to this next part – “…’ in the name of Jesus Christ …’” – no other name. No other name under heaven, on earth, anywhere in the universe by which you could be saved. “’ Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ …’” – that wonderous, glorious name and title! Jesus, the Anointed One! Jesus, the Messiah! Jesus, the Savior! And if you do you will have your sins forgiven “…’ and you shall receive the gift of [God’s] Holy Spirit.’”
Also, looking at other passages provides even more valuable information about this sanctioned and commanded day of the LORD God, and its meaning.

The Feast of Pentecost was kept by true Christians after the initial one, yet, without speaking in different languages. The apostle Paul continued keeping Pentecost decades after the Pentecost mentioned in Acts 2. Notice his inspired words, written about A.D. 55 –
“For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. 8) But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost.” – 1 Corinthians 16:7-8.
This shows us that Paul knew when Pentecost was and that he felt that the Corinthians knew when Pentecost was and that the Ephesians would have known when Pentecost was. So, it was being observed by Paul and the Gentiles in Ephesus and in Corinth.

Here’s another year, the apostle Paul wished to be in Jerusalem for Pentecost, around A.D. 61-64 –
“For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.” – Acts 20:16.
So, true Christians in Jerusalem were still observing Pentecost and Paul was observing it too! Otherwise, there would have been no obvious reason why Paul wanted to be in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost.

The Greek term for Pentecost means 50th. And, that term is derived from the following Hebrew description of calculating the correct date –
“’ And you shall count for yourselves from the day AFTER the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. 16) Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; …’” – Leviticus 23:15-16.
The Day of Pentecost in Scripture goes by different names, and because of that, many have been confused about it. Its other biblical names include the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Weeks, and the day of first fruits.

We, the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries, and our affiliated churches observe the biblical method.

Christians should remember that our LORD God, Jesus Christ, condemned the Pharisees for relying way too much on their oral law over God’s written Law (Mark 7:5-13). Jesus told them they were ‘making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.’ – Mark 7:13.

Why is Pentecost on May 16th in 2021? By Brother Samuel LaMar

Sadly a great many are confused when the Day of Pentecost is. Many Jews do not keep it correctly. Instead, they will be keeping it on May 23rd. Why!?

The latter date (the 23rd of May) appears to be seven weeks from the Days of Unleavened Bread, and the early date seems to be a week too early. But, here is the proper teaching on this –

The instruction for counting Pentecost is found in Leviticus 23:15-16. It tells us to count 50 days from the day of the wave-sheaf offering.

Normally, the task of counting is straightforward. However, when the Days of Unleavened Bread begin on the first day of the week and end on the weekly Sabbath, the Sabbath referred to in Leviticus 23:15 and the day after it for the wave-sheaf offering cannot both fall during the festival. Because of this timing, there are two potential dates to consider for the wave-sheaf offering (the “morrow after the Sabbath” mentioned) from which we count Pentecost—either the wave-sheaf offering coincides with the First Day of Unleavened Bread, or the wave-sheaf offering happens after the Unleavened Bread festival, one week later.

Which date is correct?

Thankfully, there is a scriptural example that indicates which date to use and brings clarity to this issue. In the year described in Joshua 5, the Unleavened Bread festival began on the first day of the week, just as it does in 2021. In verses 11 and 12, we find that the Israelites ate of the spring harvest on the day after the Passover, something they could not do until the wave-sheaf offering had been made (Leviticus 23:9-14). The wave sheaf, an offering taken from the spring crop before harvesting was allowed to begin, was offered on the same day from which Pentecost was to be counted (Leviticus 23:15).

The only way for the scene described in Joshua 5:11-12 to take place was that the wave sheaf was offered on the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread, allowing the Israelites to begin eating the spring crop immediately. It also meant that Pentecost fell seven weeks from that day.

This example shows us how to calculate Pentecost in a year such as 2021 when the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the first day of the week and ends on the weekly Sabbath. That's why we know that the correct date for Pentecost is May 16.

Suggested Sabbath Day Service

Here is this weeks suggested Sabbath service –

● 2 hymns. (a free printable “Old Time Gospel” hymn site is “The Old Time Gospel”). Also NOTE: Minister Guy LaMar has several spiritual songs on the TI CCOG YouTube channel!
● Opening prayer.
● Announcements (you’re more than welcome to use this letter).
● Suggested Sermonette: “Mother’s Day” by Minister Guy C. LaMar. Additional sermonettes are available on the TI CCOG YouTube channel.


Suggested Day of Pentecost Service

Here is our suggested Holy Day Pentecost service

● 2 hymns. (a free printable “Old Time Gospel” hymn site is “The Old Time Gospel”). Also NOTE: Minister Guy LaMar has several spiritual songs on the TI CCOG YouTube channel!
● Opening prayer.
● Offertory “Day of Pentecost Offertory – 2021” Other sermonettes are available on our YouTube channel.
● Announcements (if any).
● Sermon by Leonard V. Johnson “Day of Pentecost – 2021” Available 5/15/2021 @ 8:00 P.M. EST. on our YouTube channel.
Additional sermons are available at:
● Final hymn.
● Closing prayer.

World News Items

In the Middle East, we have seen a massive escalation of violence against Israel (See: VOA – Medics: 200 Palestinians Hurt in Al-Aqsa Clashes With Israeli Police’). Along with VOA – Violence Renews Near Iconic Holy Site in Old Jerusalem’ and also VOA – Israel, Hamas Trade Deadly Rocket Strikes as Tensions Mount Over Jerusalem.’ Is this a civil war!? (See: AP – Israel Steps Up Gaza Offensive, Kills Senior Hamas Figures’). Surely, hate is accelerated around the world as Satan the devil knows he has but a short time! Cf. Revelation 12:12! If you haven’t already, be sure to read “’ Blow the Trumpet!’”

In news from the United Kingdom – Newsweek reported that a 71-year-old Protestant pastor was arrested under the UK's Public Order Act for what they labeled ‘homophobic comments’ because he has a sermon on biblical marriage. (See: Newsweek – Pastor Arrested After Sermon on Marriage, Police Cite Complaints of ‘Homophobic Comments’). Also, in Canada – a Canadian Protestant pastor was arrested for encouraging people to attend church services in violation of their COVID-19 guidelines (See: NTEB – Canadian Pastor Shockingly Arrested And Put In Chains For ‘Inciting People To Attend Church’ in Violation of Canada’s Fascist COVID Laws’). Also, in Finland – a woman has been threatened with severe jail time for defending marriage as defined by God (See: Ecumenical News – Christian Finnish lawmaker who opposes same-sex marriage faces potential 6-year jail term!’). Friends, such persecutions should not take place! Especially in a government that purports (according to Wikipedia) to be a Christian nation of some 59%! In Finland – being (according to Wikipedia) a nation of 67.76 Lutheran! But, we are WARNED by Almighty God that these persecutions would occur in the latter days – cf. Matthew 24:9-13. In primarily EUROPE it will soon get even worse with persecutions because of the rising of the ‘beast power’ along with a revitalized Roman Catholic Church and a pope of magnificent stature – cf. Revelation 13:15-18.

Concluding Comments

Minister Michael C. Garrett was inspired to write –
“1 John 3:1-2 – the people of the world do not understand what you are about to read – but many of you reading this have heard it before, and you do understand it! I just hope that we always deeply appreciate it! “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2) Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He [shall appear], we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” We will be like the resurrected Jesus Christ!

Now, quite frankly, if you have been baptized – you were in the water, you were brought out – you had hands laid upon you and a prayer said over you and in the prayer the minister asked you be granted the Spirit of God. Now when the Spirit of God enters you, it probably starts out as just a very small quantity. It is as it were… it combines with our mind, and it gives our mind an extra level of understanding. Before your baptism, before receiving God’s Spirit, you might have tried to read the Bible, might have been wanting to understand the Word of God, but because of all the incorrect messages which you have heard throughout your life. I mean if you’ve grown up in the Methodist church or the Baptist church or the Catholic church or whatever religious training you had, you might have had a lot of the misconceptions of those denominations clouding your mind. And making it difficult to understand what the Bible was actually saying. There was all this static and interference, like having a radio station and it’s not tuning in very clearly. Sometimes, because of all this noise. The noise being other churches, other teachings, other preachers. Now, back in those old days, as it were, you could have studied your Bible religiously, as they say, maybe reading it a half-hour every night or reading it two or three times a day. And you would read it, and your mind would see the words, but I do believe – and I’d be willing to bet – you never saw or understood the overall Plan of God.

Now, with that in mind, turn to 1 Corinthians 2 – Paul was inspired to write, and he was quoting much of this from the Old Testament, Verse 9 – “’ Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’” And then Paul added to this Old Testament passage, Verse 10 – “But God has revealed them to us [by and] through His Spirit.” – the Spirit of God that combines with our brain, to make our brain special. But, as it says back in 1 John 3:2 – “…it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, …”
With love and gratitude, in Jesus' Name,

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