There’s something about this Pentecost season that has alerted my spiritual senses like never before. I have been praying more, in the Word more, studying more and seeking God for His presence in my life like never before. I have been through some tough stuff in the past, but what I am feeling now has more to do with what’s coming, not so much for the Church at large, or even myself, but for the world. While I am occupying and doing the work that I am to be doing and being the person that I am to be, I have a sense of bated breath as I wait on the Lord in my work for Him. I need His presence like never before, His peace, His power, His protection, and other ‘P’ words. I realize now more than ever that I can’t do this life without the Master being in the center of it; I never could, but I really get it now. We are close to the Lord’s return and I am working harder and planning harder than ever. I expect to be raptured with my tool belt on (literally) or better yet, from a port-a-potty booth.
Pentecost 2023 is upon us, this is the last of the Spring feasts of the Lord (Leviticus 23) and the only feast of the seven where the Lord commanded us to do a countdown for.
‘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; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.” – Leviticus 23:15,16
- Here we see how God commanded His people to count 50-days from the day after the Sabbath of First fruits. That calculates out to be exactly seven Sabbaths (7 weeks = 49 days) and then the next day is the 50th day which is Pentecost (Greek: pentecoste). NOTE: It always lands on a Sunday.
“You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord.” – (vs.17)
- The priest would bless the two wave loaves of leavened bread. This occurs at the end of the 50 day count; again, it always lands on a Sunday, the first day of the week, the Lord’s day (NT). It’s believed the two loaves prophetically represent the Jews and the NT Church.
The feast of Pentecost is the fourth and last feast of the Spring feasts. Traditionally, the Feast of Pentecost occurs exactly 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits, our Easter. For the OT Jews, the feast of Pentecost occurred near the end of the Spring, a celebration of the completed grain harvest. As we anticipate the coming day of Pentecost, we can see that we’re in a resurrection season. We are nearing the end of Spring, and looking cautiously optimistic to Summer and all that it may entail for the world and the NT Church.
NOTE: While there is some debate as to when Pentecost actually occurs, what is certain is that this feast is very special to the Lord and occurs in late Spring.
Jesus said it this way, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it (or He) is near—at the doors!” – Matthew 24:32
- While this passage is a set up to the Figtree Generation topic, in this blog I wanted to focus on the season that Jesus was identifying in this passage; it was toward the end of Spring, where we are currently at now; a Pentecost season.
For the NT believers, Pentecost represents the giving of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the NT Church. This is a big day for the body of Christ. Pentecost is also known as ‘Shavuot,’ the Hebrew word for “weeks.” Sometimes the feast of Pentecost is referred to as the Feast of Weeks. Some believe that Shavuot has more to do with Christ’ ascension and is a different day than Pentecost, but or the sake of this blog, I should like to say that this Pentecost is a very special one. Every year the fellowship that I belong to (Assemblies of God) puts out sermon curriculum and marketing material emphasizing the specialness of this day.
There were 120 faithful followers of Jesus who were gathered in the upper room, the site of the last supper. Jewish law required that 10 people from a given tribe be present for that tribe to be formally recognized and represented within a kosher meeting. This is known as a “minyan,” the representation of 10 people for a tribe.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, 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, 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, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” – Acts 2:1-4
- The phrase, ‘the day of Pentecost had fully come’ meant that the 50th day count from First Fruits was complete.
It is believed that the apostles stayed up all night on the eve of Pentecost, studying and praying, anticipating what God might do. Today Orthodox Jews stay up all night on the Sivan 6, the eve of the 50th day, the eve of Pentecost, studying Torah and reading the OT.
NOTE: Jewish legend teaches that sometime during the night, as the Jews are studying Torah and praying, nobody knows when, they believe that the sky would open and God would briefly appear for a split second and bless those who were awake and watching in some way.
This belief/tradition of anticipating the heavens to open for a brief second and God to render a blessing is called ‘decorating the bride.’ The discipline of faithful Jews staying up all reading Torah and praying is called ‘te-kun-lay el sha-vu-ote’ which translates, ‘readings for the night of the feast of weeks’ (aka Pentecost). The origin of this discipline stems from the Jews ‘falling asleep’ when Moses went up on Mt. Sinai in the wilderness to get the Ten Commandments from God. To compensate for this, they don’t want to be asleep at Pentecost in fear they will miss their blessing from God.
Suffice it to say, this has the Rapture of the Church inferred all over it. Once a believer can see the correlation of what God was doing with the Jews in the Pentecost season and what He is doing with His Church now, anticipation and excitement tends to build, especially for those who love the Lord and long for His return.
On the other hand, many Bible scholars believe that the Rapture of the church will occur on a Jewish feast day; some believe it will be on or around the season of Pentecost, some say it may occur on one of the two days of Rosh Hashanah. The premise, among other reasons, for the Rosh Hashanah Rapture theory has to do with ‘trumpets’ while the thinking for the Pentecost Rapture theory has more to do with the same season the Holy Spirit descended, so He will ascend, with the Church.
Of course, there’s always the doctrine of immanence, and for the record, the Assemblies of God believes in the doctrine of immanency regarding the Rapture. This means that Jesus could return for His Church at any time. While this doctrine has served us well over the years in keeping our people in a constant state of readiness; the closer we get to the return of the Lord, the more sense it makes for the Lord to return on or near a Jewish feast season. While this doctrine is debated among scholars, we won’t know for sure until it happens. The real message for us all is that we need to be ready always; living a life of holiness as unto the Lord.
However, if a Pentecost Rapture does occur, then the speculation is that the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and the antichrist will occur on the following Rosh Hashanah. This will give the world a chance to calm down after the effects of the Rapture and other global and cosmic events that will occur simultaneously.
The signing of this peace treaty, which is believed to be a modification (confirming or strengthening) of the current Abrahamic Accords which has already been proposed during the Trump administration, but currently stalled. The would start the clock on the 2,520 day tribulation (7 years of 360 days), Daniel’s 70th week.
This would be consistent with a Pentecost Rapture event and a Trumpets tribulation start as many people as possible who knew about the Rapture, and missed it, would be very introspective and repentive; desperatelyseeking the Lord.
The Feast of Trumpets falls near the end of a special 40-day Jewish season called Teshuva – (Hebrew for “return or repent”). In the Jewish calendar, the interval between Pentecost and Rosh Hashanah is known among certain Jewish scholars as ‘the dark time.’ This begins on the first day of Elul (around the middle to late August). The 40-day period ends on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which takes place 10 days after the Feast of Trumpets. The number 40 refers to judgment, global judgment.
- The message for the Jewish people is clear, repent before the Feast of Trumpets; don’t wait until that day to make it right with others and with God.
- The message for the Church today is also clear; repent before the Rapture, don’t wait until that day to make it right with others and with God.
Now whether the Rapture occurs at the feast of Pentecost or Trumpets, or whenever, the idea conveyed here is that these feasts invoke a deeper introspection.
If the Rapture occurs at Pentecost and the tribulation begins at Trumpets, than the time between the Rapture and the beginning of the tribulation will be as horrific as it is terrifying.
The effects of an instantaneous global disappearance of righteous men and women, coupled with all children, toddlers, infants, and even the unborn will have a devastating impact on the entire world economies and overall stability. No doubt this will trigger a major war where WMD’s will be used, decimating nations and causing global chaos. There will be a great deception involving a great distraction which will project alleged UFO sightings and alien contacts, but these are demons, smoke, and mirrors. No doubt the Rapture will occur simultaneously with other phenomena that will distract from the reality of the true origin of this global disappearance event; Jesus returned for His Church.
One of the reasons people believe in the possibility of a Pentecost season Rapture is that the next feast is Trumpets, which occurs at the end of summer, meaning that the global chaos left in the wake of the Rapture will have most likely subsided a bit. A new normal will manifest and a certain world leader will rise to power and establish a ten nation federation that he will rule. Since the world will be in such disarray, people will be willing to acclimate to a global system of government (aka One World Government) which involves the use of a global currency (financial reset) and tracking system (the mark of the beast). When this happens, than the world we knew before will be gone, but so will we.
At Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of Trumpets, the trumpet blast is designed to strike fear into the heart of the listener. It marks the beginning of the ten day period (‘days of awe’) between RH and YK. There are 100 blasts from the shophar at Rosh Hashanah which denounce judgment. However, Pentecost is not about Judgment, rather the coming of something new and different.
The post-Rapture world will usher in the rise of the antichrist and God’s prophetic plan to establish His millennial kingdom, the seven-year tribulation. If the signing of the peace treaty occurs on Rosh Hashanah, this will begin God’s judgment on Israel and the world. The world will already be devastated due to the effect of the Rapture and other distractions; but what is to come will be far worse. I say all this because if we experience a Pentecostal season Rapture this year, this will line up for a 2030 Second Coming of Jesus, most likely during the Feast of Atonement, but that’s another blog.
Either way, we need to be ready, be it a Pentecostal season Rapture or a Rosh Hashanah season Rapture, or an ‘anytime God feels like it’ (immanence) Rapture. Being ready is being confident in our faith in God through Jesus and living that out every day. We need to increase that measure of holiness that God has afforded us by reaching out to those in our stead and sharing our faith with them like it was our last chance; because our time is really short. We need to be living out our ‘A’ game and serving the Lord with gladness in our hearts. I get we’re battle weary, but we’re still here and as long as we are, we must occupy and be a witness for the Lord.
Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Northwest Missouri. He lives with his wife of 33-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren). Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate. He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry