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Special Note:   Sources outside this web site are reference sources only God's Word is held as the only source of truth. Accordingly, where the references differ from the original Bible text they are considered to be in error.

Example: The major reference sources appear to be very sketchy on wheat harvesting in July-August, but God clearly states that wheat was still being harvested at this time (Deut 16:13).

“…‘You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress.’…” [NKJV].

The early harvesting of wheat was done in May and shortly thereafter the festival of firstfruits was celebrated (Pentecost), but the major part of the harvest (the late wheat harvest) was not completed until after Pentecost, thus extending well into the harvest season of grapes and other fruits – this is known by God's reference to both the "threshingfloor" and "winepress" in Deut 16:13. The grain harvests were comprised of three major elements, being reaping, threshing and winnowing, all of which were done in quick succession in the grain field itself in order to prevent theft. Accordingly, where one of these three elements is mentioned we can know that the reference is to harvesting as a whole.

 

 

KEY WORDS:

 

 

Agriculture  (from The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia) EXTRACT

 

I. Development of Agriculture.

 

To the East of Israel the sons of Ishmael still wander in tribes from place to place, but in the territory toward the Mediterranean the people were more settled and prosper and there springs up the more complicated community life with its servants, hirelings, gardeners, etc. Bible history deals with the Hebrews at a period when a large proportion of that people were engaged in agrarian pursuits, hence we find its pages filled with references to agricultural occupations.

 

II. Climatic Conditions and Fertility.

 

With climatic conditions and fertility so varied, the mode of cultivation, seedtime and harvest differed even in closely adjacent territory. On the coastal plains and in the low Jordan valley the soil was usually rich and the season was early, whereas the mountainous regions and high interior plains the planting and reaping times were from two weeks to a month later. To make use of the soil on the hillsides, terracing was frequently necessary.

 

 

 

I.S.B.E.

WebBible Encyclopaedia

Smith's Bible Dictionary

Reaping

In April, if the hot east winds have not blasted the grain the barley begins to ripen. The wheat follows from a week to six weeks later, depending upon the altitude. Toward the end of May or the first week in June, which marks the beginning of the dry season, reaping begins. Whole families move out from their village homes to spend the time in the fields until the harvest is over. Men and women join in the work of cutting the grain. A handful of grain is gathered together by means of a sickle held in the right hand. The stalks thus gathered in a bunch are then grasped by the left hand and at the same time a pull is given which cuts off some of the stalks a few inches above ground and pulls the rest up by the roots. These handfuls are laid behind the reapers and are gathered up by the helpers, usually the children, and made into piles for transporting to the threshing-floor.

The reaping of the grain was performed either by pulling it up by the roots, or cutting it with a type of sickle, according to circumstances. The grain when cut was generally put up in sheaves (Gen. 37:7; Lev. 23:10-15; Ruth 2:7, 15; Job 24:10; Jer. 9:22; Micah 4:12), which were afterwards gathered to the threshing-floor or stored in barns (Matt. 6:26).

The wheat etc., was reaped by the sickle or pulled by the roots. It was bound in sheaves.  

Threshing

The threshing-floors are constructed in the fields, preferably in an exposed position in order to get the full benefit of the winds. If there is a danger of marauders they are clustered together close to the village. The floor is a level, circular area 25 to 40 ft. in diameter, prepared by first picking out the stones, and then wetting the ground, tamping or rolling it, and finally sweeping it. A border of stones usually surrounds the floor to keep in the grain. The sheaves of grain which have been brought on the backs of men, donkeys, camels, or oxen, are heaped on this area, and the process of tramping out begins. In some localities several animals, commonly oxen or donkeys, are tied abreast and driven round and round the floor. In other places two oxen are yoked together to a drag, the bottom of which is studded with pieces of basaltic stone. This drag, on which the driver, and perhaps his family, sits or stands, is driven in a circular path over the grain. In still other districts an instrument resembling a wheel harrow is used, the antiquity of which is confirmed by the Egyptian records. The supply of unthreshed grain is kept in the centre of the floor. Some of this is pulled down from time to time into the path of the animals. All the while the partly threshed grain is being turned over with a fork. The stalks gradually become broken into short pieces and the husks about the grain are torn off. This mixture of chaff and grain must now be winnowed.

The process of threshing was performed generally by spreading the sheaves on the threshing-floor and causing oxen and cattle to walk repeatedly over them (Deut. 25:4; Isa. 28:28). On occasions flails or sticks were used for this purpose (Ruth 2:17; Isa. 28:27). There was also a "threshing instrument" (Isa. 41:15; Amos 1:3) which was drawn over the grain. The Hebrews called this moreg, a threshing roller or sledge (2 Sam. 24:22; 1 Chr. 21:23; Isa. 3:15). It was somewhat like the Roman tribulum, or threshing tool.

The sheaves or heaps were carted, Amos 2:13 to the floor—a circular spot of hard ground, probably, as now, from 50 to 80 or 100 feet in diameter. Gen 1:10, 11; 2 Sam 24:16, 18 On these the oxen, etc., forbidden to be muzzled, Deut 25:4 trampled out the grain. At a later time the Jews used a threshing sledge called morag, Isai 41:15; 2 Sam 24:22; 1Chr 21:23 probably resembling the noreg, still employed in Egypt—a stage with three rollers ridged with iron, which, aided by the driver's weight crushed out, often injuring, the grain, as well as cut or tore the straw, which thus became fit for fodder. Lighter grains were beaten out with a stick. Isai 28:27 The use of animal manure was frequent. Psa 83:10; 2 Kin 9:37; Jer 8:2 etc.

Winnowing

This is done by tossing it into the air so that the wind may blow away the chaff. When the chaff is gone then the grain is tossed in a wooden tray to separate from it the stones and lumps of soil which clung to the roots when the grain was reaped. The difference in weight between the stones and grain makes separation by this process possible. The grain is now poled in heaps and in many localities is also sealed. This process consists in pressing a large wooden seal against the pile. When the instrument is removed it leaves an impression which would be destroyed should any of the grain be taken away. This allows the government offers to keep account of the tithes and enables the owner to detect any theft of grain. Until the wheat is transferred to bags some one sleeps by the pries on the threshing-floor. If the wheat is to be stored for home consumption it is often first washed with water and spread out on goats' hair mats to dry before it is stored in the wall compartments found in every house. Formerly the wheat was ground only as needed. This was then a household task which was accomplished with the hand-mill or mortar.

When the grain was threshed, it was winnowed by being thrown up against the wind (Jer. 4:11), and afterwards tossed with wooden scoops (Isa. 30:24). The shovel and the fan for winnowing are mentioned in Ps. 35:5, Job 21:18, Isa. 17:13. The refuse of straw and chaff was burned (Isa. 5:24). Freed from impurities, the grain was then stored in granaries till used (Deut. 28:8; Prov. 3:10; Matt. 6:26; 13:30; Luke 12:18).

The shovel and fan, Isai 30:24 indicate the process of winnowing—a conspicuous part of ancient husbandry. Psa 35:5; Job 21:18; Isai 17:13 Evening was the favorite time, Ruth 3:2 when there was mostly a breeze. The fan, Matt 3:12 was perhaps a broad shovel which threw the grain up against the wind. The last process was the shaking in a sieve to separate dirt and refuse. Amos 9:9 Fields and floors were not commonly enclosed; vineyard mostly were, with a tower and other buildings. Num 22:24; Psa 80:13; Isai 5:5; Matt 21:33 comp. Jud 6:11 The gardens also and orchards were enclosed, frequently by banks of mud from ditches.

 

 

 

Covenant (Barnes' Notes)

 

The word "covenant" denotes properly "a compact or agreement between two or more persons," usually attended with seals, pledges, or sanctions. In Gen 17:7, and elsewhere, it is said that God would establish his "covenant" with Abraham; that is, he made him certain definite promises, attended with pledges and seals, etc. The idea of a strict "compact" or "agreement" between God and man, as between "equal parties"; is not found in the Bible. The word is commonly used, as here, to denote "a promise on the part of God," attended with pledges, and demanding, on the part of man, in order to avail himself of its benefits, a specified course of conduct. The "covenant" is therefore another name for denoting two things on the part of God:

 

(1) A "command," which man is not at liberty to reject, as he would be if it were a literal covenant; and,

 

(2) A "promise," which is to be fulfilled only on the condition of obedience. The covenant with Abraham was simply a "promise" to give him the land, and to make him a great nation, etc. It was NEVER proposed to Abraham with the supposition that he was at liberty to REJECT it, or to REFUSE to comply with its conditions. Circumcision was appointed as the MARK or INDICATION that Abraham and those thus designated were the persons included in the gracious purpose and promise. It served to SEPARATE them as a special people; a people whose unique characteristic it was that they obeyed and served the God who had made the promise to Abraham. The phrase "covenant of circumcision" means, therefore, the covenant or promise which God made to Abraham, of which circumcision was the distinguishing "mark" or "sign."

 

 

Old Covenant

 

The agreement, marriage covenant, God made with ancient Israel at Sinai. The people of Israel agreed to obey God and all His commands in return for God's protection and physical blessings (Exodus chapters 23 & 24).

 

Although made shortly after leaving Egypt, the covenant did not see full effect until 40 years later when Israel entered the promised land. However, Israel broke the covenant after they entered the promised land The period of obedience relating to Lev 26:5 and mentioned more specifically in Judges 2:7 continued for about fifty (50) years according to Barnes' commentary on verse 7. Because of Israel's disobedience after that time God lifted His protection of the nation and from this it is reasonable to conclude that the seasons also changed, the rains did not fall in due season and the land did not yield its abundance. As a result, a large body of commentary relating to the Biblical harvest seasons is at best misleading. Only God's Word can be relied upon to give an accurate account of the seasons, as God intended them to be understood and relate correctly to His annual Holy Days.

 

 

New Covenant

 

The agreement (marriage covenant) God makes with a person upon baptism with the Holy Spirit upon becoming a spiritual Israelite. It is an agreement that the resurrected spiritual church will marry Christ at his return to Earth. Prior to that marriage taking place, all those baptized with the Holy Spirit must show by faith and works at this time that they are suitable to be the collective wife of the Christ, Word of God. The bride/wife is now known as the church the body of Christ, which is likened to a woman in the marriage relationship between a man and his wife.

 

The new Covenant is illustrated very simply by our well-known contract law:

  1. The OFFER is made, which is symbolized by the Passover ceremony – Christ pays the penalty for our sins (symbolized by the emblems of the bread and wine), which sacrifice we are commanded to remember every time we partake of these Passover emblems; and our part in the agreement is to live God's way of life, symbolized by the foot washing ceremony;

  2. ACCEPTANCE of the offer is made at baptism (symbolized by the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread) and we are given a "down-payment" (earnest) of the Holy Spirit;

  3. The whole of the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread symbolizes living God's way of life for our entire lives (performing our part of the contract);

  4. Pentecost symbolizes full payment of the Holy Spirit resulting in glorification – the people of God are ascended into the God family as spirit beings with eternal life;   and

  5. The Feast of Acclamation (Trumpets) symbolizes the ultimate fulfilment of the New Covenant – marriage of the Church to Christ, the Lamb of God.

 

 

 

 

The  Holy  Spirit

 

 

Our Helper to the First Resurrection

 

Directly linked to our spiritual progress towards the fulfilment of Pentecost is the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and our effective use of that spirit. While Christ was with us physically on Earth there was absolutely no indication that the Holy Spirit was granted to so much as a single human – in fact Jesus stated definitely that the Holy Spirit would NOT be available to anyone while he was here in person, John 16:7:

“…But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him [it] to you…” [NIV].

 

Christ also tells us that the “Counsellor” is “the Holy Spirit”:

John 14:26

”…and the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom [which] the Father will send in my name, he [it] will teach you all things, and remind you of all things that I said to you…” [YLT]. 

 

Different translations variously render the Greek word parakletos as Helper, Comforter or Counsellor. In view of the total usefulness of the Holy Spirit all of these interpretations are acceptable. The most important point to remember is that the Holy Spirit is NOT an entity as God, or Christ, or we are entities; it is a divine power sent from God to assist the saints in various ways throughout the days of our conversion here on Earth. Both in Micah 3:8 and later in Luke 24:49 it is made clear that the Holy Spirit is a power for use by the receiver. In Micah, being filled with the Holy Spirit is shown to be synonymous with being filled with power and in Luke when Christ promised that the disciples were to be imbued with power, they in fact received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost 31AD.  

Mic 3:8

“…‘But I, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of Jehovah, and with judgment and strength, to show to Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.’…” [Keil and Delitzsch Commentary]. [5]

Luke 24:49

“…‘Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.’…" [NKJV].

 

Accordingly, it is neither masculine nor feminine and when quoting from the various translations the neuter form of the word will always be included [bracketed], as above.

 

The Holy Spirit has always been available to mankind, it is just that in OT times far fewer people were called to be firstfruits and granted the Spirit compared to the last 2,000 years (approximately). Some people such as David, Elijah and Elisha are mentioned specifically, while others are just mentioned by number, such as the 7,000 about which God told Elijah (1Kings 19:18). However, after Christ's sacrifice, it was time to increase the number of God’s people and that meant supplying them with the Holy Spirit. God knew that when Christ was not present in person, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in His people would be essential not only for their spiritual survival in this world, but to lift the veil of Satan from their minds in order that they may be able to understand God’s basic truths. Accordingly, we were granted access to the Holy Spirit as never before on the Day of Pentecost 31AD and that event is recorded for us in Acts 2:1-4:

“…1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them…” [NIV].

 

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is essential for the survival of God’s people through this age. This Spirit of God is a power that supplies us with many attributes, the principal ones being as follows:

·        Identifies us as God’s people;

·        Identifies us as God’s property;

·        Helps us to understand the truths of God;

·        Assists with prayer; and

·        Provides the gift of prophecy.

 

1.     Identifies us as God’s people: Physical circumcision of the males is used by God as an outward sign to symbolize the spiritual circumcision which takes place at baptism with the Holy Spirit. It is used by God to identify His people for the purpose of promises under the "new covenant". As an outward sign that a man was part of God’s people under the old covenant and entitled to God’s promises of protection and provision he was to be circumcised (Gen 17:7-10). However, under the new covenant, which extended to all peoples of Earth, the sign God uses to identify His people is His Holy Spirit (Col 2:10-12).

“…10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the Head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead...” [NIV].

 

Thus, for salvation purposes, it is spiritual circumcision that is required; the physical act is merely a type, which symbolizes spiritual circumcision through baptism with the Holy Spirit, now considered neither beneficial nor detrimental. This point is made by God in Rom 2:25-28

“…25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 If those who are not circumcised keep the law's requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a law-breaker. 28 A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical…” [NIV].

 

2.     Identifies us as God’s property: It is given as a sign that we are now the property of God, whereas the rest of humanity is still given over to the god of this world (Satan) for the time being. Being the property of God guarantees our ascension to the family of God and being a co-heir with Christ.

Eph 1:13-14

“…And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who [which] is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession — to the praise of his glory…” [NIV].

 

3.     Helps us to understand the truths of God: The Holy Spirit, being the Spirit of truth and understanding, counteracts the mind-clouding influence of Satan which is mentioned in  2Cor 4:4 and 2Cor 3:15. In lifting this veil from our minds the Holy Spirit helps us see, understand and remember the truth of God, as well as providing us with the strength to follow that truth:

John 15:26

“…But when the Helper comes, whom [which] I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who [which] proceeds from the Father, he [it] will testify of Me…” [NKJV].

John 14:26

“…But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you…” [NIV].

Rom 15:13

“…Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit…” [NKJV].

   

4.     Assists with prayer: Prayer is extremely important for the spiritual survival of a Christian and the Holy Spirit helps us with our communications with our Holy Father in heaven:

Rom 8:26-27

“…26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God…” [NRSV].

 

5.     Provides the gift of prophecy: God made it clear through both Joel (Joel 2:28) and Peter (Acts 2:17)  that one of the principal attributes we will have through receiving the Holy Spirit is the gift of prophecy.

Acts 2:17

“…And it shall be in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;…” [YLT]

 

Sons and daughters prophesying is given as example of people receiving the Holy Spirit, but there are no examples in the Bible of God granting His Holy Spirit to children, only to adults. Since God does not change (Mal 3:6) we can be certain that these sons and daughters are also adults. As we are all someone’s son or daughter, we can conclude that God is talking about us – all of us. The word rendered “prophesy” comes from the Greek profhteuw” and can have several meanings, but Adam Clarke has correctly stated that in this case and given the context it “signifies to teach and proclaim the great truths of God.”

 

Where women are concerned, God is very definite as to  the extent of their teaching – mothers are to teach their daughters and the older women are to teach the younger women (Jer 9:20 and Titus 2:4). Although a teaching restriction exists for women, there can be no doubt that God has given His Holy Spirit of truth and understanding to both men and women. It is interesting to note that in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, Moses’ wish (Num 11:26-29) for the nation of Israel (spiritual Israel) to receive God’s Holy Spirit and for all to be teachers of God’s Word was finally fulfilled:

“…26 However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ 28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses' aide since youth, spoke up and said, ‘Moses, my lord, stop them!’ 29 But Moses replied, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!’…” [NIV].

 

It is also significant that this ability to teach the divine Word of God is expected of all God’s people and God roundly criticized the Hebrew converts (Heb 5:12) for not being in such a position:

“…For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food;…” [NRSV].

 

For the edification of the spiritual body, Christ placed in his church people with special gifts or strengths in particular areas (1Cor 12:28-29 and Eph 4:11), of which two are prophesying and teaching. Some church elders have incorrectly used these verses to stifle healthy Christian growth and even resented “Berean” type study that led to questions. However this should not be so and these verses were never intended to allow the brethren to abdicate their individual responsibility to study the Word of God; increase in wisdom and understanding; and be able to teach the Word of God when called upon. We are even given specific instruction on the matter in several places of God’s Word:

2Tim 2:15

“…Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth…” [KJV].

1Peter 3:15

“…But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,…” [NIV].

Acts 17:11

“…And these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, receiving the word with all readiness of mind, daily searching the scriptures if these things were so…” [Darby].

 

Indeed, to be ready for the first ascension, pictured by the Feast of Pentecost, we ought to be fully capable teachers of the Word of God. This means studying God’s Word for ourselves to find what He (not anyone else) has to say about all matters. God’s Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth, will help us to do this so we can fulfil our calling to be part of the first ascension.

 

 

Availability of the Holy Spirit Restricted by Biblical Timing

 

The Scriptures can be divided into two broad parts loosely known as the “before time” and the “after time”, with the coming of the Messiah being the central event.[1] hence the "time before the Messiah" and the "time after the Messiah". There are references in the OT to a time called the “latter days,” but a more accurate translation of the Hebrew would be the “after time”. In this period of the “after time” we are told in Joel 2:28 that God would pour out His spirit on all mankind:

“…28  And afterward [in the after time], I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days…” [NIV with bracketed text being added as a more accurate rendering].

 

In Acts 2:16 we are told that this prophecy was to apply from the time the disciples received the Holy Spirit on the first Day of Pentecost after the death of Christ. So, for about the past 2,000 years we have been living in the “latter days.” There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that God will continue to pour out His spirit AFTER those days. In Joel the Hebrew word “yowm has been rendered “in those days”. In many other places in the OT this word has been accurately rendered as “season” or a specific number of days (indicating a beginning and an end). This word refers to a specific period of time; it is not indeterminate allowing a spill-over or carry-over into a different time period or season. In Acts 2:17 the Greek is even more definite, with God stating that this time of pouring out of the Holy Spirit will be PRIOR to the “day of the Lord,” which is prior to the first resurrection.

Acts 2:17-21 (without verse references for ease of reading):

“…'And it shall be in the last days,' god says, 'That I will pour forth of my spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of my spirit and they shall prophesy. And I will grant wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the lord shall come. And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the lord will be saved.'…” [NASB].

 

In verse 17, regarding the Greek word en, Strong remarks that this word, which is rendered “In”, is “a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state)”. Likewise, in verse 20 Strong states that the word rendered “before” is “a primary particle of distinction between two connected terms". The two connected terms being the beginning point and the ending point. As all of these prophetic events are to occur within the same time-frame (the time frame of the “latter days”), this means that the beginning of this prophetic period was Pentecost 31AD and ends prior to the day of the Lord.

 

Thus, the time-frame is set for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit as commencing 31AD and ending prior to (immediately before) the day of the Lord.

 

To be plain, God is stating that there will be no spill-over of this condition (the pouring out of His Spirit) into the next age – the Millennium. These Scriptures show clearly that the Holy Spirit will NOT be available to mankind as an indwelling spirit during the Millennium. The Millennium is a Sabbath (picturing final rest in the Kingdom of God), not one of the two days of judgment, which is to say it is not a spiritual “work-day” requiring spiritual effort to fight spiritual battles. In Ezek 11:19 and 36:27 the Hebrew word qereb has been rendered “within” instead of “among” or “midst”, by some popular translations thereby giving the impression that the pouring out of the Holy Spirit will continue into and through the Millennial age. However, Young’s Literal Translation faithfully renders this word as “in your midst”, which is consistent with the set time-frame as shown in Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:17-21. The Holy Spirit is to be working WITH (among) not WITHIN people during the Millennium.

 

During the age before the Messiah (now past) and the age after the Messiah (now current) salvation was only ever available to the firstfruits. The reason for availability of the Holy Spirit to the firstfruits is to help them resist Satan, the influences of Satan’s evil society and our own carnal natures and understand the truth of God. It is necessary to have this help because it is our “day of judgment”, the time when our behaviour is assessed for spiritual purposes. When the Millennium is over and the Great White Throne Judgment begins (the second day of judgment), then the Holy Spirit will again be available as it is now, because those people will need that power to help them change from their old ways and start following God’s way.

 

Viewing the statements about the pouring out of the Holy Spirit from our point in time, it can be seen that the intent was not for the Holy Spirit to be given to every single human being during this age, but rather was to be given to selected (predestined) humans from all nationalities.

 

Other conditions to be met prior to receiving the Holy Spirit include repentance, acceptance of Christ as our saviour and baptism (Acts 2:38). When a person meets these conditions they commence what is known as conversion. Conversion is the life-long process of striving to live God’s way of life. One approach to conversion is to apply the example God gives of Jacob – how he wrestled with Christ, then known as the Word, all night until dawn (Gen 32:24-28). Jacob was commended for his efforts and renamed Israel by God. There was no way a human was ever going to win a wrestling match against the one who created the entire universe. However, God wanted to see if Jacob would continue to strive even in the face of knowing that he could never win. The same goes for Christians! As humans we can never hope to defeat our carnal nature, but God wants to see if we will continue to strive anyhow and call on the sacrifice of Christ to atone for what we have not overcome. Although the Word did not represent our carnal nature, he did represent something with which we have to wrestle in order to obtain God’s blessing. This wrestling, striving or enduring is to prevail in wanting to live God's way of life even in the face of suffering, as did Jacob when his hip was displaced (sinew shrunk).

 

Paul explained the situation very well in Rom 7:7-25. Having lived a life striving against sin a Christian can look forward to life in the family of God, which is the spiritual rest pictured by the weekly seventh-day Sabbath and the seventh millennium (“Millennium”). God “rested” on the seventh day of re-creation, to show that the seventh-day Sabbath represents something completely non-physical, life in His kingdom following completion of His plan of creation. The Sabbath is a rest day for both God and man and therefore the Millennium, being a Sabbath type, is not one of the days on which judgment is upon God's people it is a time ("day") when God ceases from His work of creating.

 

  

Availability of the Holy Spirit Restricted by the Law

 

In Gal 3:19-25 we are told that the Law (Mosaic Law) was given as a schoolmaster until the coming of Christ. We find this time is more specifically referring to Pentecost 31AD when the Holy Spirit was poured out by God to reside within His people. The Holy Spirit provides understanding of God’s Law and goes well beyond the codified law of the Old Covenant.

John 14:26

“…‘But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.’…” [NIV].

 

The Mosaic Law was the entire system of law given by God to Moses for the purpose of administering the Old Covenant. This system encompassed the entire Levitical system of Priesthood and sacrifices, as well as the entire codified system of law, statutes and judgments. In Jer 33:18-21 we are told that the Mosaic Law (all the sacrificial elements requiring a Levitical Priesthood) will be restored at the return of Christ.

Jer 33:18-21

“…‘And there will always be Levitical priests to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings and sacrifices to me.’ Then this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD: ‘This is what the LORD says: If you can break my covenant with the day and the night so that one does not follow the other, only then will my covenant with my servant David be broken. Only then will he no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. The same is true for my covenant with the Levitical priests who minister before me…” [NLT].

Also, Isa 66:20-23

 "...'And they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem', says the LORD, 'just as the Israelites bring their cereal offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD. And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites', says the LORD. 'For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before me', says the LORD; 'so shall your descendants and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me', says the LORD..." [RSV].

 

The time-frame for these verses is given by the context and is definitely the Millennium – the schoolmaster is restored for the Millennium. Now, if the schoolmaster of physical sacrifices is restored and the Levitical Priesthood is restored, then so too is the entire Law of Moses. God makes it clear that subjection to one part of the Law means subjection to the whole of that Law:

Gal 5:2-5

“…Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness…” [RSV].

 

(NB: Here Paul is not speaking out against circumcision per , but against a misguided compliance with certain physical requirements of the Old Covenant by those with the Holy Spirit.)

 

Gal 3:2  “…Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ…” [NLT].

 

So, if the “schoolmaster” (the Law of Moses) is returned, then the Holy Spirit must be absent. The schoolmaster existed only under the terms of the Old Covenant. Some would have the law (commandments of God) abolished completely under the New Covenant, but that is not so. Just as the sacrifices under the Old Covenant were replaced by the sacrifice of Christ, so too is there a new meaning to the law under the terms of the New Covenant note that both sacrifice and law is still required, it is just that the real meaning of both are now in effect for those who are called to be firstfriuts. The guides of the codified law are NOT diminished, rather they are expanded as shown by the following examples given by Christ himself.

Matt 5:21-22

“…‘You have heard that our ancestors were told, You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment. But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.’…” [NLT].

Matt 5:27-28

“…‘You have heard the commandment that says, You must not commit adultery. But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’…” [NLT].

 

Under the New Covenant, Christ gave us much more detailed commands – more detailed because they apply principles and attitudes as well as applying the simple works of the codified law:

Mark 12:29-31 

“…Jesus answered, ‘The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.’…” [NLT].

Gal 5:14 

“…For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: Love your neighbour as yourself…” [NLT].

 

Getting back to the Millennium: In Ezek 11:19 and 36:27 the Hebrew word “qereb” has been rendered “within” instead of “among” or “midst”, by some popular translations thereby giving the impression that the pouring out of the Holy Spirit will continue into and through the Millennial age. However, Young’s Literal Translation faithfully renders this word as in your midst.

 

During the Millennium the Holy Spirit is to be working WITH (among) not within people.

Isa 30:21 

“…And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’…” [NRSV].

 

Finally, just before the return of Christ, just before the Millennium, we are told to remember the Law of Moses why, because it will shortly be in use once again, the schoolmaster shall return for the people in the Millennium, just as explained above!

Mal 4:1-4

"...'For behold, the day comes, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go forth leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts. Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and ordinances that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.'..." [RSV].
 

 

The Holy Spirit will be available again, but not until AFTER the second resurrection at the end of the Millennium this resurrection is a resurrection to physical life for the purpose of providing the great remainder of humanity with the chance of repentance and assessment (judgment) for entry into the family of God.

 

PREDESTINATION and FOREKNOWLEDGE   (International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic copy)

  

EXTRACT

 

“…While, therefore, the foreknowledge of God in the sense of prescience is asserted in the New Testament, this is not the meaning of the term when used to translate the Greek words proginoskein and prognosis. These words which are translated in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) by the word "foreknowledge," and once by the word "foreordain" (1 Peter 1:20 the King James Version), mean much more than mere intellectual foresight or prescience. Both the verb and the noun approach the idea of foreordination and are closely connected with that idea in the passages where these words occur. Thus, in Peter's speeches in Acts the predestination which finds expression in Acts 4:28 is practically identified with the term prognosis in Acts 2:23. Everything which happened to Jesus took place in accordance with "the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God," so that nothing happened except that which God had foreordained.

 

In this verse the term foreknowledge is an expansion of the idea of God's "counsel" or plan, regarding it as an intelligent prearrangement, the idea of foreknowledge being assimilated to that of foreordination. The same idea is found in 1 Peter 1:20. Here the apostle speaks of Christ as a lamb "foreordained" by God before the foundation of the world. The Greek verb proegnosmenou, meaning literally, "foreknown" (as in the Revised Version (British and American)) is translated "foreordained" in the King James Version. It is evidently God's foreordination of Jesus as Saviour which Peter has in mind. Also in 1 Peter 1:2 those to whom the apostle is writing are characterized as "elect according to the foreknowledge (prognosis) of God," where the election is based on the "foreknowledge." By the prognosis or foreknowledge, however, far more is meant than prescience. It has the idea of a purpose which determines the course of the Divine procedure. If it meant simply prevision of faith or love or any quality in the objects of the election, Peter would not only flatly contradict Paul (Rom 9:11; Eph 1:3-4; 2 Tim 1:9); but also such a rendering would conflict with the context of this passage, because the objects of election are chosen "unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of .... Christ," so that their new obedience and relation to Christ are determined by their election by God, which election springs from a "foreknowledge" which therefore cannot mean a mere prescience.

 

In view of the fact that there was a classical use of the simple verb ginoskein in the sense of "resolve," and more especially of the fact that this word is used in the New Testament to denote an affectionate or loving regard or approbation in accordance with a common use of the Hebrew yadha` (Matt 7:23; 1 Cor 8:3; Gal 4:9; 2 Tim 2:19), there is nothing arbitrary in giving it this sense when compounded with the preposition pro when the context clearly demands it, as it does in the above passage (compare Johnstone, Commentary on Peter in loc.: per contra Meyer on passages in Acts and Romans). The word prognosis is, however, discriminated from "predestination." It is that loving regard in God from which the Divine election springs, which election Peter evidently regarded as sovereign, since sanctification is only a confirmation of it (2 Peter 1:10), and stumbling and disobedience are referred to 'appointment to unbelief' (1 Peter 2:8). Here, then, we have a pregnant use of foreknowledge in which it is assimilated to the idea of purpose, and denotes a sovereign and loving regard.

 

The word prognosis is also found in this sense in the writings of Paul, in cases where it is manifestly impossible to regard it as a mere intellectual foresight, not only because of Paul's doctrine that election is absolutely sovereign (Eph 1:3-4; Rom 9:11; 2 Tim 1:9), but also because of the contexts in which the term occurs.

 

In Rom 8:29-30 the word "foreknow" occurs in immediate connection with God's predestination of the objects of salvation. Those whom God foreknew, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His son. Now the foreknowledge in this case cannot mean a mere prescience or foresight of faith (Meyer, Godet) or love (Weiss) in the subjects of salvation, which faith or love is supposed to determine the Divine predestination. This would not only contradict Paul's view of the absolutely sovereign and gracious character of election, but is diametrically opposed to the context of this passage. These verses form a part of the encouragement which Paul offers his readers for their troubles, including their own inward weakness…”