Saturday, June 22, 2024

Letter to our Friends - June 20, 2024

P.O. Box 6458

Leonard V. Johnson
Pastor and Founder

Dear Brethren, Friends, and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from West Central Florida.

In this week’s Sabbath sermon, I reference our English booklet titled “What Is the Kingdom of God?” And, we also have this same booklet in Spanish as well. We hope you had a most glorious and wonderful Day of Pentecost! We published an offertory short sermonette for the Day of Pentecost. We are working with VEED.IO – a simple but powerful video editor to create text for our videos (in any language) that are not published to our YouTube channel – but rather to video-sharing platforms that do not offer speech-to-text. Here is an example – “Are the Dead In Heaven” by Michael C. Garrett” The hearers of the Spirit-filled apostles in the Book of Acts 2:1 heard their proclamation of the gospel message in their own native language. Now, while Almighty God performed that special miracle then, we strive to bring to you as much as we can of the LORD God’s gospel message in your own native language. On our Soundcloud channel, we currently have several articles in 5 languages – and hope to produce more.

Our suggested Sabbath sermon this week is “True Conversion – Seven Signs of True Conversion” which is available now on our YouTube and UGETube channels. Again, I apologize for the sound quality in the sermon, we just ordered a new microphone. As you could have heard from the previous sermonette, the old mic continues to cut out at most inopportune moments.

New Equipment for the Ministry

L – clip-on microphone. R – umbrella lighting kit

The Day of Pentecost

The holy Day of Pentecost was from sunset on the 15th of June to sunset on the 16th of June. This meant that there were back-to-back Sabbaths!

To help aid you and your family as you learn about just what God’s living word – the Holy Bible – actually teaches, you may, in addition to listening to our video sermons, and or audio sermons, articles, booklets, and books, we also recommend checking out our A Morning Bible Studies! Here are a few recent ones in PDF –

As for the Day of Pentecost, the majority who profess Christ indeed know something about Pentecost─though very few of them keep it and celebrate it as a holy Sabbath. Most Pentecostals understand it as the beginning of the New Testament Church.

Notice that after our Lord Jesus Christ died, He came and presented Himself alive, being seen by them during forty days and continuing to speak to them things pertaining to the Kingdom of God, and telling them to wait in Jerusalem for the Promise of the Father –

“ … which,’ He said, ‘you have heard Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ – Acts 1:4-5.

And so they waited. Then –

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, …” – notice that it wasn’t until the Day of Pentecost had fully come. Notice this phrase, “had fully come” – So, the Day of Pentecost fully came at sunset when the first day of the week begins (dies Solis, Latin for ‘the day of the sun’). Here is what occurred then –

“ … they were all with one accord in one place. 2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole HOUSE where they were sitting. 3) Then there appeared to them divided tongues [surely representing different languages around the world], 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 [other known languages], as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Verse 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 of the Father] is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’”

Verse 40 – “And with many other words he testified [he witnessed] and exhorted them, saying, ‘BE SAVED FROM THIS PERVERSE GENERATION.’ 41) Then those who gladly received his word WERE BAPTIZED; and that day [the holy Day of Pentecost] about three thousand souls were added to them. 42) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine [which is our Lord Jesus Christ’s doctrine] and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

Verse 47 – “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the Church daily those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:1-4, 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 read or listen to our online booklet, “Is God a TRINITY?” We also have this online booklet translated into Kiswahili) was gifted.

There Is Much More to the Day of Pentecost!

Sadly, the majority of our peoples throughout the world do not understand that there is more to the Day of Pentecost than just the gifting of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Church.

Looking into the Old Testament we can glean some vital information concerning this most special of holy days!

The Day of Pentecost has been kept and celebrated since the initial one in roughly 31 A.D. The Apostle Paul continued to keep and celebrate the Day of Pentecost. Notice what he wrote – under the divine inspiration of God’s Spirit – in roughly 55 A.D. –

“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 clearly shows us that the Apostle Paul wanted his Gentile audience to understand when the Day of Pentecost was, as well as the Church in Ephesus. The Day of Pentecost was properly observed and celebrated by the Apostle Paul, as well as the Gentile converts in Ephesus and in Corinth.

Also, it was recorded for us that the Apostle Paul - in roughly 57 A.D. – wished to be in Jerusalem for the holy Day of Pentecost –

“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.

Thus, true converts in Jerusalem were observing and celebrating the holy Day of Pentecost. Otherwise, there would have been no logical reason for the Apostle Paul to desire to be in Jerusalem on the holy Day of Pentecost.

So, the very name Pentecost is ecclesiastical Latin from Greek pentēkostē meaning ‘fiftieth (day).’ It’s derived from the Hebrew description of calculating the date. Notice the following directly from the LORD as He spoke to Moses –

“’ And you shall COUNT for yourselves 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 within God’s living word goes by several names – the Feast of Firstfruits; the Feast of Weeks; the Feast of Harvest; and the Day of Firstfruits.

Sadly, grave confusion now abounds worldwide as to the proper date of the Day of Pentecost. The majority of our Jewish brethren do not keep and celebrate it on the same day as we of the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries and our affiliated churches.

Interestingly enough –
“The Sadducees [concluded] that “Sabbath” meant “Saturday.” Accordingly they would transfer the count of “seven weeks” from the morrow of the first Saturday in Passover, so that Pentecost would always fall on Sunday.” 1
However, just before this in the Jewish Encyclopedia is recorded –
“In post-Talmudic and geonic literature the biblical name “shabu’et” was resumed. Pentecost falls on the 6th of Siwan and never occurs on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday.”
This date many of our Jewish brethren continue to use (which is a post- Talmudic interpretation which came together AFTER the Old Testament – it is not inspired scripture). It is a later date change and is not from the LORD God! We in the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries and our affiliated churches observe and celebrate the date given to us by the LORD God within the living word of God – the Holy Bible – not the Jewish Talmud.

True Christians should remember that our Lord Jesus Christ condemned the Sadducees and the Pharisees for relying too heavily on their oral laws over the LAW OF GOD (Mark 7:5-13). Our Master and Savior God 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.’ – vs. 13.

Verily, when you count fifty days to the day AFTER the seventh Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread (also the “Sabbaths day,” see Luke 4:16, The Interlinear Hebrew/Greek/English Bible), you discover that the Day of Pentecost always falls on a Sunday. And the Day of Pentecost is celebrated from sunset Sabbath until sunset Sunday.

Firstfruits Unto the LORD

The very term “firstfruits” suggests a first harvest. And this is actually pointed out to us within the Old Testament – the Elohim spoke these words –

“’ and the Feast of Harvest [the Day of Pentecost], the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; …’” – Exodus 23:16.

And, the LORD said to Moses, to tell the children of Israel … “’ And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks [the Day of Pentecost], of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, …’” – Exodus 34:22.

And, the LORD said to Moses, to tell the children of Israel … “’ Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks [the Day of Pentecost], you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work.’” – Numbers 28:26.

How does the idea of ‘firstfruits’ help us to understand the awesome meaning of this holy Day of Pentecost?

The glorious Day of Pentecost or Feast of Firstfruits should always remind us that the LORD God is now calling only a small “firstfruits” of Their spiritual harvest at this time. There is going to be a much larger second harvest which the Last Great Day pictures. This spring harvest is but a few until the later fall harvest after the Millennium reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our resurrected Savior – our Lord Jesus Christ – was a type of firstfruits.

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21) For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23) But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” – 1 Corinthians 15:20-23.

Our Savior, High Priest, and Lord is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant wave sheaf offering recorded for us in Leviticus 23:10-11. He is the sheaf of firstfruits unto the LORD. He also fulfilled this role when He ascended into the upper heavenly realms on the Sunday (the wave sheaf offering was on a Sunday!) after He was gloriously resurrected unto life (John 20:1, 17).

However, neither He nor His true followers observed what is known today as Easter.

Notice that the Apostle James wrote – under divine inspiration – that our Lord Jesus “of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [creations].” – James 1:18.

Indeed, while our Lord Jesus is the original firstfruits to represent the Old Covenant wave sheaf offering, true Christians are a kind of firstfruits – represented by the holy Day of Pentecost. So, the word “firstfruits” represents that only a few will be a part of the first harvest in this present age.

Suggested Sabbath Day Service

Here is our suggested Sabbath day service for our scattered brethren and friends around the world:

• TWO songs of praise. (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, is suggested, there are some Instrumental Accompaniment to the Bible Hymnal available on our website).
• Opening prayer.
• Announcements – from the deacon or pastor.
• Sermon – from the pastor or guest speaker. The one suggested for this week is “True Conversion – Seven Signs of True Conversion” delivered by Minister Leonard V. Johnson.
• Closing song.
• Closing prayer.

For audio articles in Spanish –
For audio articles in Khmer –
For audio articles in Dutch –
For audio articles in Swahili –

Some World News Concerning Biblical Prophecy

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with North Korean Kim “the Rocket Man” Jong Un yesterday. They both signed an agreement which is intended to strengthen their military ties. (See: VOA“North Korea, Russia pledge mutual defense, surprising many observers”).

They are truly taking into effect the Latin phrase, “Amicus meus, inimicus inimici mei.” “My friend, the enemy of my enemy.”

Certainly, the United States of America has attempted to “punish” both North Korea and Russia with crippling sanctions over the years. And Russian President Putin warned the US about sanctions against their new friend back in 2017 (See: CNBC“Putin says pressure on North Korea is both ‘futile’ and a ‘dead-end road’”). And, this just in: BBC“Putin warns South Korea against arming Ukraine”). Could the newly elected US President Donald Trump come to be a wartime president!? Are these warnings from Vladimir Putin only saber-rattling!? Or is it but a prelude to Armageddon?

The very term Armageddon is only used once in God’s living word. It is associated with the sixth angel (messenger) pouring out his bowl of the LORD God’s wrath –

“Then the SIXTH ANGEL poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. 13) And I saw THREE unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet” – Revelation 16:12-13.

God’s living word shows us that there will come a time when “the kings from the east” – a massive Islamic army – will make its way to Tel Megiddo. Indeed, the “dragon” is Satan the Devil, the “beast” is the final end-time military leader of a future United States of Europe, and the “false prophet” is a great final religious leader of that European conglomerate. “For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to battle of that great day of God Almighty” – Revelation 16:14. Speaking of the terrible Day of the LORD!

To Note: Islam is a major religious minority in Russia, and the country has the largest Muslim population in Europe, excluding Türkiye – approximately 14 million people! Notice this report from 2023: France24“Turning away from the West, Russia seeks to strengthen economic ties with the Muslim world”.

The name Tel Megiddo, or rather Har Megiddo. “Mound of the Governor.” Megiddo is a place up north of Jerusalem – a gigantic plain – “the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.” For “the kings from the east” – referring to a collection of Islamic armies. And we believe that there’s a good chance – though we don’t know for sure – that this “200 million man army” will be attempting to attack European forces that have wiped out their Islamic brothers and cousins. This Belt & Road Initiative, known in China as the One Belt One Road and sometimes referred to as the New Silk Road will certainly make the crossing of the Euphrates easier for them. We believe the majority of these armies will be ISLAMIC! Tel Megiddo is in the tiny nation of Israel. Syria borders Israel to the northeast. We are witnessing continuing steps for such an Islamic confederation to come to pass, as well as a way to get to Tel Megiddo (Armageddon). Verily, the winds are blowing towards a new world order, and the United States of America will not be part of it!

In other world news – Saudi Arabia (along with many other oil exporters) only sold oil priced in US dollars. But, this has been drastically changing. Recently, there have been discussions about oil sales being priced in yuan instead of US dollars. Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is in talks with China to sell oil and be paid in yuan instead of dollars. This will certainly further devalue the US dollar! (See: the Federalist“The End Of The Petrodollar Is The End Of America’s Global Dominance”).

A living dual prophecy of our LORD warns that creditors will rise up against a power “who increases what is not his … and one who loads himself up with many pledges!” – cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8. The United States of America (which is in debt for a whopping $34.8 TRILLION) continues to print money without gold-backing, and continues to issue “pledges.” Note: A treasury note itself is not a pledge agreement. However, when a financial institution accepts deposits of public money, the U.S. Department of the Treasury requires the institution to collateralize those deposits. Meaning – the institution must “pledge” certain assets to secure the funds beyond the limits of insurance.

According to a 2023 Investopedia report, “China is one of the United States's largest creditors, owning about $859.4 billion in U.S. debt. However, it does not own the most U.S. debt of any foreign country. … Japan commands the top spot among foreign creditors with $1.1 trillion—about 3% of total U.S. debt. … The other countries that hold the most U.S. debt include the U.K., with $668.3 billion owed; Belgium, holding $331.1 billion in debt securities; and Luxembourg, slightly behind Belgium with $318.2 billion of the United States' debt.” 2

There is coming a time when the United States of America will become a foreign power's “booty”! Certainly, it will be Japan! And certainly, it will be China!

Concluding Comments

Brethren, Friends, and Co-Workers, this year’s holy Day of Pentecost is now past. Let us continue in the strength of the LORD our God to face the issues in this world (such as work, school, relatives, financial issues, civil unrest, etc.).

Minister Michael C. Garrett wrote the following:
“Well, regardless as to the source of your problems, troubles, and afflictions, if you suffer for righteousness sake, and if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed. But understand that God the Father and Jesus Christ will be with you and they will reward you! Notice 1st Peter – there are several passages throughout the Book of Peter, where he talks about this concept. 1st Peter chapter 1, verse 3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4) to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you, …” – and eventually Heaven will come to the Earth. Verse 6 – “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the [appearing] of Jesus Christ, …” – so when Jesus Christ returns He will reward you for your faithfulness and your diligence, and for the battles which you fought. 1st Peter chapter 2, verse 19 – “For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20) For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.” …

Verse 21, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22) ‘Who committed no sin, Nor was [guile] found in His mouth’; 23) who, when He was reviled, …” – and this is tough as a human being. This is not easy – “…did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him [God the Father] who judges righteously; …” – that’s the example He set for us!”

(Garrett, M.C., Suffering for Righteousness Sake, 20 Feb. 2019)
While it is very difficult to rejoice in trials, God’s living Word says that we should (cf. 1 Peter 4:13; Matthew 5:11-12). Yet we, as the faithful did in the past, are looking far beyond anything in this world – we are looking to the glorious coming of the Kingdom of God (cf. Hebrews 11:4-40).

Let us rejoice in God Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ!

In deep gratitude and love, in Jesus' name,

Bibliography and Sources

1 Mirza, U., The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol VIIII 1912, “Pentecost” pages 592, 593.
2 The Investopedia Team, How Much U.S. Debt Does China Own? Investopedia, 19 Aug. 2023, Retrieved 21 June 2024.

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