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Then at the close of the last session we looked at the way into the kingdom of God. We saw that it was through redemption, through the redemption that was purchased for us by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. We could, I think, look at that closing section there once more in Colossians 1:12–14.
“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power [or domain or authority] of darkness [that’s Satan’s kingdom] and translated us [or transferred us or carried us over] into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption.”
Redemption is the basis of our deliverance from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God. There in that 13th verse we see again the two kingdoms placed side by side. The one, the domain of darkness; the other, the kingdom of the Son of God’s love. It would be helpful for us briefly to understand the nature of Satan’s kingdom without going into a tremendous amount of detail. And then we’ll look also at the nature of the inward kingdom of God.
First of all we’ll turn to Ephesians 2:1–3. This passage tells us who belongs in Satan’s kingdom. It’s very important to know that. As I see the passages we’ve been studying, everybody belongs in one or other of the two kingdoms. There is no one who is in neither kingdom. And very simply as we’ll see when we look at these verses, Satan’s kingdom contains all those who are disobedient to God. All those who are in rebellion against God are automatically in Satan’s kingdom. They don’t have to make a decision, they don’t have to vote, that’s where they are. And the only way out is to lay down that rebellion against God and accept the redemption provided through Jesus Christ. What is the key word for laying down your rebellion? Repentance, that’s right, we’re getting it. At least we’re getting it intellectually. It remains to be seen whether we’re getting it experientially. Ephesians 2:1–3:
“And you, he [God] made alive. You who were dead in trespasses and sins, [spiritually dead, not physically dead] in which trespasses and sins you once walked according to the course or the age of this world.”
According to the way the world is in this present age. The world is not creation, the world is the present world order. For instance, it says elsewhere that in the flood the world that was then perished. The earth didn’t perish but the whole human order of that day perished. It’s important to understand how the New Testament uses this phrase the world. The world is this present world order involving all humanity and all nations. We all lived in that, every one of us. Which was according to the course of this world...
“...according to the prince of the power of the air.”
The word prince is in this version what you’ll find in more modern translations: ruler. The word that occurs in English in such words as archangel or archbishop. The Greek word is ?arche?. It means a ruler. An archangel is a ruling angel and an archbishop is a ruling bishop. The ruler of the power [Greek: authority] of the air. Satan is the ruler of the realm of authority defined by the air.
Now there are two Greek words for air. One is aitherwhich gives us the English word ether, the other aerwhich gives us the English word air. There’s a difference. Aitheror ether is the rarer upper atmosphere. Aeror air is the lower denser atmosphere contiguous with the earth’s surface. Now that’s the word that’s used here. So Satan is the ruler of the realm of authority that takes in the whole surface of the earth. He became ruler of that because God’s appointed ruler betrayed it to him. God’s appointed ruler was Adam. So Satan tricked his way into this position but the authority is ultimately from God.
Going on in verse 2, he’s a spirit, he’s not a fleshly being. He’s a spiritual being who is now at work in the sons of disobedience. What’s the key word there? Disobedience. Everybody who is disobedient to God is under the influence of Satan. He’s in the world which is the realm of Satan’s authority. And then Paul goes on to say:
“Among whom also we all had once conducted ourselves [all of us, there are no exceptions] in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.”
We were motivated by our fleshly nature and by our minds. And bear in mind that the mind is just as much at enmity against God as the carnal nature. Paul says in Romans 8, the carnal mind, the unredeemed, unregenerate mind, is at enmity with God. Most people can see that the obvious fleshly sins are at enmity with God but actually the mind in many ways is more at enmity with God than the carnal nature.
I remember being in Sweden about ten years ago in the capital city in Stockholm and I was asked to conduct a deliverance service. I didn’t decide to do it, I was asked to do it. It was somewhat comical. The meetings were held in a church and I was allowed to teach in the church but they felt it wasn’t appropriate to actually minister deliverance in the church so we all had to move to another room a little way off. I said after we had finished teaching, “Now everybody who feels they need deliverance just move to the next room.” Practically the whole congregation moved and there was really no room. I mean, it was wall to wall people, you couldn’t fall down because there were too many people there. I told the people how to pray and commanded the evil spirits to come out and we had an exciting time. There are certain things I remember very vividly. I understand the Swedish language. There was this Swedish Pentecostal pastor walking around or squeezing his way around looking at members of his congregation who were being delivered from evil spirits. This is a classic remark, I vouch for the truth of this, he said in Swedish more than once, “I don’t believe what I’m seeing.” I thought what more can you do? Afterwards some of the Christians in Sweden sent a message out to me to say how stupid can you be to imagine that Swedes could need deliverance from evil spirits! They are much too intellectual. You see, the truth of the matter is the intellect is more at enmity with God really than just the plain old nature that gets drunk and commits immorality and all that. The mind is really the ultimate portrait of rebellion against God. You see, one of the results of that is educating the carnal mind is educating enemies of God. It’s not altogether accidental that probably the main opposition to the method of the good news is found in academic circles. Probably the strongest opposition, the great stronghold of opposition is most of the seminaries. Because what they’re doing is educating unregenerate minds. Simply making them more antichrist than they were before.
So that’s the nature of the world. It’s the disobedient against God who are at enmity with God in their fleshly nature and in their minds. It’s summed up at the end of that verse as children of wrath. Now lots of people in America don’t understand that word wrath when I say it. How can I help it if I’m right? W-R-A-T-H. It means the anger of God. Some things I’ve changed, that I just can’t change. You Americans have no idea what’s involved in a Britisher coming to America. The first time I had to call petrol gas I thought I was going to choke! I just couldn’t believe I’d ever get the word out. Now when I’m in New Zealand it’s hard to say petrol.
Coming back to our text. That’s the nature of Satan’s kingdom. He is a spiritual ruler by spiritual power, dominating all over the surface of the earth those who are in rebellion against God. And it’s their rebellion that automatically causes them to be Satan’s subjects. He is the arch rebel. There is a scripture in Job 41, I’d like to look there for a moment. This is an amazing chapter. There are 34 verses in Job 41 and they’re all devoted to the description of a sea monster. You know, the Bible is very economical of space. It’s amazing, isn’t it. The name of this sea monster is Leviathan.
Now without going into a lot of speculation, I believe there is a sea monster. Personally I believe there is a monster in the sea called Leviathan. In the ancient records of the British navy which are very official, there are a number of instances of people who saw and recorded in the log of their naval vessels this monster. That’s just a matter of opinion, I’m not arguing for that. Anyhow, I believe that Leviathan like the serpent in the garden is not just a creature but he’s also an embodiment of Satan. I don’t think you can understand that in any other way. And in the light of that I think it’s very significant what it says in the last verse. Job 41:34:
“He [Leviathan] beholds every high thing...”
What would that tell you about his character, beholding every high thing? What word would you use to describe? Arrogance?
“...he is king over all the children of pride.”
That’s Satan. He’s king over all the children of pride. It doesn’t matter whether they’re religious, it doesn’t matter whether they’re Baptist or Pentecostals or Catholics or Buddhists or Hindus or Communists. He is their king. Let me ask you this question. Which came first? Pride or rebellion? Pride. Pride caused rebellion. The root of all problems in our nature is pride. When God gets down to the root, things begin to happen. That’s just a picture of Satan’s kingdom. He is the ruler over all the proud and rebellious. He is an invisible ruler but he dominates and controls them, manipulates them by his spiritual power.
Now there’s one other picture of Satan’s kingdom in Ephesians we need to look at briefly. Ephesians 6:12. I’ll read you this, it’s the New King James, and then I’ll give you the Prince version.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
I have sometimes commented that most Christians punctuate that verse wrong. The way they read it is this: For we do not wrestle, period. But that’s not what Paul says. He says we’re in a wrestling match but it’s not against flesh and blood. I think it’s very significant that Paul chose the metaphor of wrestling. I don’t even think it’s a metaphor. I think it’s an actual fact. It’s the most intense form of person to person contact. I’ve had experiences when I’ve actually been physically involved with Satanic power. Invisible but physically involved. All right, this is the Prince translation. It varies from time to time. You say what is your authority? Well, I’ve studied Greek since I was ten years old. That doesn’t mean I’m always right but it means I’m entitled to my opinion. There’s no one who is always right either about Greek or Hebrew. They are very elaborate, subtle languages. For anyone to assert he knows it all, it’s obvious he doesn’t. I’m going to give you this now:
“For our wrestling match is not against persons with bodies...”
That’s taken from the Living Bible and I acknowledge it and I think it’s excellent. What it brings out is that we are dealing with persons but they don’t have bodies. Once you’ve got that into your mind you’re far ahead, you understand? When you think you’re just dealing with something inside yourself or inanimate forces or fixations or whatever the word might be, or you give some fancy psychiatric terminology to it, you haven’t come to grips with the reality. We are dealing with unseen wicked persons who hate our guts to say it crudely. But they don’t have bodies.
Let me quickly illustrate this. I wrestled for years with a problem none of you have ever experienced but you’ll be indulgent toward me. I was a pastor at the time. Could you believe that pastors have problems? Now everybody knows pastors don’t have problems. They just solve other people’s problems. And they have no one to go to with their own. And you can’t tell your flock I have a problem because then they would think you shouldn’t be a pastor. Anyhow I wrestled with this problem, it was depression. I know none of you know anything about that, but I had a tremendous struggle with depression for years. I was a committed Christian, I was in the ministry, I believed the Bible, I spoke in tongues, I memorized scripture, I even fasted. And it got worse. I was desperate, I had come to the point where I had no idea what to do and I read in the prophet Isaiah, chapter 61, verse 3 that God would give us the garment of praise in place of the spirit of heaviness. And when I read those words the spirit of heaviness, the Holy Spirit said to me, “that’s your problem.” I realized I was dealing with a person. An invisible, spiritual person. I had an absolute flood of revelation. I suddenly realized it was a family problem, that it went back to my father and probably to his father. That he had had the same battle for years. When I knew that I was dealing with a person I think I could say I was 80 percent of the way to victory. I only needed one other scripture and that came which was Joel 2:32: “it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.” I called on the Lord very specifically. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, quoting Joel 2:32, to be delivered from the spirit of heaviness. I was delivered. That was about l953. Ten years later the Lord thrust me against my own wish into the ministry of delivering others. I had experienced it myself ten years previously. I thought it’s terrible for a minister to have to admit he was delivered from an evil spirit so the only person that ever knew about it was my first wife. What I’m returning to is we are dealing with persons. When you realize that you’re in an altogether different position to handle it.
Almost all pagan religions know this. It’s Christians who are ignorant. For our wrestling match is not against persons with bodies, but against rulerships, [Greek word, arche] and powers is authorities.
Now the Prince version goes: rulerships with various areas and descending orders of authority. That means that there are rulers and sub-rulers. For instance, let’s take Hawaii but we’re on the big island. What is the name of the big island? Hawaii. I always turn to my wife for information like that because I’m a little unreliable. Without any question there is a Satanic ruler over this island. Without any doubt whatever. I think her name is Pele. I think that’s a fact. You can go to the locals for some basic information. They’ve known that for centuries.
Now, the question of female rulers is an interesting one but we cannot get into it because I’m not sure I have the answers. But under her or him there are various sub-rulers, like one over each major city probably. And quite likely there’s one for distinctive racial groups. Each racial group may have its own particular dominant authority over it. I don’t want to go into this in too much detail because our theme is the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of Satan. You really cannot understand the one without the other.
Now you need also to understand that the organization of Satan’s kingdom is extremely good because he got it from God, you understand? He was the arch ruler, the archangel over one third of the angels. He turned those angels in rebellion against God but he kept the structure of rulership. That’s why his kingdom is so efficient. Rulerships with various areas and descending orders of authority.
Now the next phrase I translate: “The world dominators of this present darkness.” Now notice world and dominate. Satan’s aim is to dominate the entire world. That’s his purpose and everything he does is directed toward that. And it’s a kingdom of darkness. Those who are in Satan’s kingdom don’t know where they are because they’re in the dark. Those who are in God’s kingdom know where they are because they’re in the light.
The final phrase is: “Spiritual [blank] of wickedness.” Let’s pause and look at the blank. The reason why I put a blank in is because the Greek language has a neuter gender which it can use in the plural without a noun. So it’s spiritual of wickedness. You can’t say that in English so you have to put in some words. The two words usually put in are hosts or forces. But it’s your option. Let’s say hosts because they’re angels as I understand it. Spiritual hosts of wickedness.
Now here comes the final problem: “In the heavenlies.” Okay. Now let’s look at that for a moment. Satan’s kingdom is made up of persons without bodies. I believe they’re various angels. It’s structured in an area of rulerships with various areas of descending orders of authority. Each ruler being answerable to the ruler above him. These forces are the world dominators of this present darkness. I use the word dominate because the Greek word ?crator? is a very powerful word which is also used in the title of Jesus: Almighty. ?PantoCrator? It’s a very powerful word. This is ?CosmoCrator?, the dominators of the cosmos, the present world order that we’ve been talking about. The world dominators of this present darkness. See, there are two dirty words in the spiritual world. One is dominate and the other is manipulate. Wherever you meet those you have met Satan. God never dominates, he never manipulates.
Then, finally, spiritual blanks, hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies. Now the big problem with most Christians is how can Satan’s headquarters be in the heavenlies. That’s a question I don’t want to go into. If we get into it it will take us too far away from our theme. Let me just suggest to you that right from the first verse of the Bible heaven is plural. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And because I know that your minds will not get into the next phase if we don’t cover this a little, in 2Corinthians 12 Paul says in verse 2:
“I know a man in Christ who 14 years ago, whether in the body I do not know or out of the body I do not know, God knows, such an one was caught up to the third heaven.”
Now my training is in logic. I cannot get around the fact that if there is a third heaven there must be a first and a second. There is no way to have the third of anything without the first two. That means there must be at least three heavens.
Also, in Ephesians 4:10, speaking about the fact that he descended into Hades and then he ascended into heaven, it says:
“He who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens.”
So when Paul says “all the heavens,” that tells us the same as the third heaven. There must be at least three heavens. I’m not arguing for more, some people talk about being in the seventh heaven. I wouldn’t recommend you to say that as Christians because that’s taken from the Koran. If you’re feeling really happy my suggestion is you say you’re on cloud nine! The Bible indicates there are a lot of clouds in heaven. So I have to go a little further with this. Satan was cast out of the heaven of God’s presence, there’s no doubt about that. But apparently somewhere in between there and here he set up a rival kingdom of rebellious angels. That’s got a lot to do with our prayer life because when we have to pray we have to pray through a Satanic opposition. That’s why we use the phrase praying through. You have to forgive me, I realize we got into something that’s probably got you stirred up but we can’t afford to go into that. We just glanced at the facts that there is an invisible Satanic highly organized kingdom of darkness that is in total opposition to the kingdom of God. There is a war between them.
Now that affects every Christian because the moment you are born into the kingdom of God you are born into a kingdom that is at war with Satan’s kingdom. You cannot be at peace. Let me explain it this way. I’m a naturalized American citizen for which I thank God. Suppose when I was naturalized in l970 America had been at war with Russia. The moment I became an American citizen I was automatically at war with Russia. I didn’t have any options. That’s true of every person born into the kingdom of God. The moment you get into God’s kingdom you have to be at war with the kingdom that’s at war with your kingdom. That will explain a whole lot of things that perhaps some of you never understood.
Now turning away from Satan’s kingdom we’re going to look at God’s kingdom. Not in great detail because that would take a great deal of time but I want to look at the inward spiritual nature of God’s kingdom which is within us. And there’s one verse that really says it all. It says everything, and that’s Romans 14:17.
“For the kingdom of God is not food and drink...”
It’s not in the material realm, you understand? It doesn’t consist of what you eat and drink. How important for Christians to realize that. Let’s stop making rules about what other people eat and drink.
“But it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
That’s the nature of the kingdom of God. If you have the kingdom of God within you, that’s what you have. Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The kingdom of God is coextensive with the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit the kingdom of God has no reality.
We were talking in the break with a brother that I was with about this phrase, parachurch. As you know, normally speaking YWAM is classified as parachurch. I have begun to take exception to that whole phrase. Because in many sections of the world it’s the parachurch that’s doing what the church ought to be doing. And the Holy Spirit is with the parachurch and not with the church. This is my observation and I’m not representing YWAM’s official opinion at all. My definition of the church in any area is everything that the Holy Spirit has initiated in their area regardless of how it’s classified. And if the church is to be the church in that area it has to have room for everything the Holy Spirit is doing in that area. And anything the Holy Spirit is not doing, no matter how institutional, how proper, is not part of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is in the Holy Spirit.
I think it’s ridiculous to define the church apart from the Holy Spirit. Who brought the church into being? Who? The Holy Spirit. He came and there was the church. Before that there was just a group of rather powerless disciples. Who appoints people in the church? The Holy Spirit. Paul said to the elders at the church of Ephesus, take care of the flock over which the Holy Spirit had made you overseers. Any appointment in the church that is not made by the Holy Spirit is not official. That’s parachurch. Anything that the Holy Spirit doesn’t do is not part of the church. I know all the definitions of church. I can give you all the structures and all the possibilities. I’m tired of them. I mean, I’ve labored at them. But to tell you the truth of the matter, without the Holy Spirit you have absolutely zero. The Holy Spirit is the initiator of the church. He’s the maintaining power of the church, he’s what makes the church the church. The kingdom of God is coextensive with the Holy Spirit and doesn’t go one millimeter beyond. It’s in the Holy Spirit. The church has got a lot more aspects to it than just meeting on Sunday morning and singing hymns. You perhaps have heard my comment. People say about the supernatural signs promised at the end of Mark 16, we don’t see the signs. I say I’ll tell you why. Because the signs are promised to those who go, not to those who sit. You’ll sit forever and never see the signs. Go ye into all the world, these signs shall follow those who believe. Summed up by somebody who said it’s hard to follow a parked car! Which is what 90 percent of the church is, a parked car. That’s not the Holy Spirit’s doing. The Holy Spirit is a spirit of intense activity, tremendous power. That wasn’t in my outline but it happens to be true.
Now, and let’s come back to the nature of the kingdom of God. Having stated it’s in the Holy Spirit, it’s righteousness, peace and joy. And notice, outside of the kingdom of God there is no righteousness. There is only rebellion. Only the people in the kingdom of God can know righteousness because they are under the government of the king. Everybody who is not under the government of God’s appointed king is a rebel. And who is their ruler? Satan. The issues are very clear. It’s righteousness then peace. Peace, I believe, is the inevitable outcome of righteousness. But if you’re seeking peace without righteousness you’re pursuing something you’ll never catch up with. Just aim for righteousness, let peace take care of itself. Where is righteousness? Only under the government of King Jesus. There is no other place that any person can be righteous. It is not just keeping a set of rules. It’s being under his government. You can keep all the religious rules and be a rebel. A lot of religious rebels do that.
Sometimes it takes an experience to bring out the rebellion in you. Like the story of the prodigal son. We always quote this on the younger brother who went away. What about the older brother? When the prodigal came back and was received by the father, he wouldn’t even go into the house. Then the father went out and talked to him, that was marvelous grace, wasn’t it? He said to the father, this, your son has come back. He didn’t say my brother. The father said your brother. It’s a wonderful conversation. But you notice what the elder brother said. He said, “I’ve kept all your commandments from my youth up, I’ve never disobeyed you.” And yet he was a rebel at heart all the time. It took the return of the younger brother to bring out the rebellion that was in his heart. So don’t rely on keeping rules.
We have to be under the personal government of Jesus. Righteousness, peace and joy. I believe they are inevitable consequences of righteousness; both peace and joy. You see, joy is spiritual. We have to distinguish between joy and happiness. Now there are many possible different definitions, I’m not saying these are the only right ways to use the word. I just use them as examples. Happiness, I understand it to be in the realm of the soul. Joy to be in the realm of the spirit. Happiness is connected with your circumstances, your situations, the things you’re experiencing. Joy is related to only one source which is God. Let’s look in Psalm 43. David is in a pretty tough place at this time, at least it’s David. Verse 2 he says:
“Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
He answered a dumb question, hasn’t he? Why is he mourning? Because he’s under the oppression of the enemy. Then he makes up his mind that he’s not going to stay in that condition and he says in verse 4:
“Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy.”
In Hebrew it says the promise of all my joy. So where do we find joy? In God. And notice where you meet God, too. At the altar. The place of the life laid down. Now joy doesn’t fluctuate, pleasure does. Happiness does but joys doesn’t. It’s contingent only upon righteousness. That’s what the kingdom of God is. You have it inside you if you’re truly under the kingship of Jesus. God sees you as righteous. You are righteous. You have peace. You have joy. You may have a lot of tribulation, you may have a lot of anguish, but in the midst of it all you’re filled with joy.
There’s a remarkable statement in the last verse of Acts 13. The situation is a lot of new converts have come to the Lord through Paul and then Paul goes off and leaves them in the midst of persecution. I think he was driven off. And this is the closing verse of Acts 13 about these disciples.
“The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
In the midst of persecution, you understand?
Now I question whether you can be filled with the Holy Spirit without being filled with joy. I’m not sure that it’s possible. One of the major problems of American Christianity—and not merely American but western Christianity—it is essentially man centered. There are very few who are God centered. We view God as a convenience, something to help us get what we want. We are of the center, God is at the circumference. That’s not the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God has Jesus at the center. I’m a subject of King Jesus. I’m under his government. I have righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Now we also ought to have that in our relationships with one another. It’s not merely within, it’s among. So we should be able to demonstrate to the world what it is to be related in righteousness, to deal with other people rightly. Jesus gave one basic statement in which he said the whole of the law and the prophets defended which was: treat other people the way you want them to treat you. That’s righteousness. And when we have righteousness we will have peace among us. We won’t have quarreling, we won’t have disputing. And when we have righteousness and peace we can’t help having joy. So whether it’s in your individual, personal experience or whether it’s in the corporate relationship of a group of disciples, being in the kingdom produces righteousness, peace and joy.
Now, we’ll say a few more things about the church in the light of this. Turn to James 1:18, speaking about God.
“Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth.”
Do you know why you were born again? Because God willed it. It would have never have happened if he hadn’t willed it. It wasn’t because you willed it, it’s because he willed it. It all starts with God. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth. What is his purpose? That we might be a kind of firstfruits of his creation. In other words, we who are born again in this dispensation by the Spirit of God are a firstfruit of something that’s going to follow in another age. But we demonstrate it in this age when people look at us individually and corporately, they should see a little preview of what is ultimately going to fill the earth; the kingdom of God. We’re a firstfruit.
Now that’s an interesting picture because it refers to the Old Testament sacrifice. And there were two kind of firstfruits in the Old Testament. In 1Corinthians 15:20 Paul says:
“Now is Christ risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of those who slept.”
So there’s one of the firstfruits. It’s Jesus himself. But we, the church, his disciples, are also a kind of firstfuits. Now if you turn to Leviticus which is in the Old Testament in case you are looking for it somewhere else, Leviticus 23, you’ll find put together both firstfruits. It’s illuminating. That is the firstfruit which was fulfilled in Jesus and the firstfruit which is fulfilled in the church. If you look now in Leviticus 23:9–11. This is the first firstfuits.
“And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, Speak to the children of Israel and say to them when you come into the land which I give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted on your behalf. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.”
In our order of the week, what’s the day after the Sabbath? Sunday. The Sabbath is Saturday, please bear that in mind. Sunday is the first day of the week. It’s the day after the Sabbath. That’s Biblical. This firstfruit which was one single sheaf, the first sheaf to be reaped out of the new harvest, was waved before the Lord on a Sunday, the first day of the week. And Christ is that firstfruit. That’s his resurrection. The triumphant waving of that firstfruit, the first of the harvest which gives promise to the rest of the harvest to follow is fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on the first day of the week.
Then a little further on in verse 15 Moses is instructed about another firstfruit.
“And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath...”
Which is what day? Sunday or the first day of the week. Do you realize how we are infiltrated by the occult? Have you ever considered that even our days of the week are named after pagan deities? Monday is moon day. Thursday is Thor’s day. Friday is Friar’s day. Those are the old Nordic gods. The Bible doesn’t use their names. It’s first day, second day, third day. ?Arashabat?, the day before the Sabbath and ?shabat?, the Sabbath. That’s one of the blessings of living in Israel, you get to understand God’s calendar a little better. In Israel, Sunday is the busiest day of the week. It’s the first day. Everybody has had their rest on Sabbath and out they go to work. The traffic is terrific. At least in Jerusalem.
Now let’s not get sidetracked. We’re in Leviticus 23:15:
“You shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath [that’s the first day of the week] from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, seven Sabbaths shall be completed.”
That’s seven weeks. How many days is seven weeks? 49. You know, we have come to the place where I find children need a computer to find out what seven times seven is. It’s extraordinary to me. All right, verse 16:
“Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath...”
What day of the week is the day after the seventh Sabbath? Sunday, or the first day.
“...and offer a new grain offering to the Lord.”
What day in the calendar is the 50th day from the Sabbath before the resurrection. Pentecost, that’s right. What happened on Pentecost? The Spirit descended and what happened? The church came into being. So this firstfruit represents the church.
“You shall bring out of your habitation [from your home] two wave loaves and two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven.”
Notice nearly all sacrifices are unleavened but these have leaven in them, leaven being a representative of the carnal nature. These are human beings, they’re not divine.
“And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs of the first year...”
I missed out the key sentence at the end of verse 17:
“They are the firstfruits to the Lord.”
So you see, there are two firstfruits. And they’re exactly carried over into the New Testament. The first is the resurrection of Jesus, the one sheaf that was waved. The token of victory, the seed that fell into the earth has come out again with new life. That’s the resurrection.
Fifty days from that—and you know the word Pentecost come from the Greek word for fifty, ?penteconta?—fifty days after that there was another firstfruit which was two loaves baked with flour as it comes from that harvest. But they were baked with leaven. They were not divine. Two is the number of witness and leaven indicates that they were human. Here is the church coming into being as what? A firstfruit to the Lord.
Okay. We’ll continue, God helping us, in our next session.