Church Reversion: Pentecost to Passover
Nov 20, 2007
The progression of the Kingdom in history is portrayed by the feast days of Israel when viewed from the perspective of prophecy. Moses led Israel out of Egypt on Passover, bringing the Kingdom into a Passover Age--the first of a series of three ages. The Passover Age ended officially when Jesus died on the cross on Passover 1480 years later.
Those who believed in the Passover Lamb (justified by faith) are those who, in effect, "passed the test of Passover" and were moved into the next grade level--Pentecost. These became known as the "Church," though more specifically they formed the Pentecost Church, as distinct from the Passover Church that Moses had formed. Acts 7:38 calls Israel "the Church in the wilderness." I equate this with the Passover Church, when viewed in this manner.
The Pentecost Church was the transitional Church into that final perfect one, which I would call the Tabernacles Church--or the Church with the anointing of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth).
2000 years ago the majority of the people failed to pass the Passover test (Faith) and to graduate into Pentecost. This has occurred also with the Church of Pentecost. Instead of moving forward into Tabernacles, they have reverted back to the perceptions and limitations of the Passover Age. Even so, there has always been a minority which has continued to move forward instead of backward. These are the Overcomers.
The Passover Age began with great miracles--the Ten Plagues on Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the manna in the wilderness. But it was not Pentecost. The people did receive OPPORTUNITY to enter Pentecost at Mount Sinai, when God came down as fire and spoke the Ten Commandments to the people. Everyone heard God in their own language. That day came to be celebrated as the "feast of weeks" thereafter, and it received its current Greek name over a thousand years later--Pentecost.
It is evident that the Holy Spirit was present and operative even in the Passover Age. The Holy Spirit is not limited to Pentecost, but functions and manifests in a greater way. Israel had opportunity to grow rapidly from Passover (leaving Egypt), to Pentecost (hearing God's voice, receiving the Spirit at Sinai), and even to Tabernacles (entering the Promised Land). They could have "graduated" within a period of just two years. But though this was God's WILL (thelema), it was not God's PLAN (boulema).
Under Moses, God granted Israel the ability only to leave Egypt, thereby typifying those who are Justified by Faith in the blood of the Lamb. That is the Passover experience, and it speaks of all true believers who have Faith. In any age, the Church, by definition, consists not of organizational members, but of people with a genuine heart-experience of Justifying Faith.
In other words, the "True Church" consists of those who have experienced Passover in their hearts and have a direct relationship with Jesus Christ.
But in the prophetic type under Moses we find that Israel was unable to go beyond Passover. When they came to Pentecost, they ran away from the voice of God at Sinai (Ex. 20:18-21). Verse 19 says,
"Then they said to Moses, 'Speak to us yourself, and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, lest we die'."
Scripture says that their hearts were hardened, their eyes were blinded, and their ears were stopped, and this situation was still present with them 40 years later (Deut. 29:4). The reason for this was because God intended to work on a much longer time frame than just the individual Israelite's experience. He intended to slow down the process and work through three AGES. And so the eyes and ears of the people were not opened until after Jesus' resurrection (Luke 24:32). This unlocked their hearts and opened up to them the Pentecostal Age, which they entered seven weeks later.
A few people drew near to God in the upper room for Pentecost, desiring to hear His voice. Unlike Israel, they were unafraid, and they were rewarded with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2), which those of the previous Age were unable to experience.
But within a few centuries we find from reading Church history that they lost nearly all of what they had gained on the day of Pentecost. A few miracles continued to occur, of course, but miracles did not set them apart from the Passover Age. Many miracles occurred under the anointing of Passover. What was the real difference between these two Ages? What did the Pentecostal Church lose? How did they revert to Passover?
In a word, the issue was the Holy Spirit. But how did this play out in experience? The Holy Spirit came primarily in the form of the Voice of God manifesting in the Fire. It is also pictured as a SWORD, because of the "flaming sword" of the Cherubim (Gen. 3:24) as well as the sharp sword coming out of the mouth of Christ (Rev. 19:15). A sword coming out of one's mouth is a symbolic representation of the WORD OF GOD, and the sword is the tongue by which it is spoken.
It is a Hebrew idiom in Scripture that the "edge" of the sword is the Hebrew word PEH, which means "mouth." It is literally the BLADE of the sword, but the Hebrew word is MOUTH. So the sword coming from the mouth of Christ in Rev. 19:15 is a word picture of Hebrew origin.
When Israel refused to hear the Voice of God in Exodus 20, they rejected the Sword that comes from the mouth. They rejected Pentecost, and so the fulfillment of that feast was postponed for many centuries. If they had accepted that sword, history would have been quite different. The most immediate difference is that they could have conquered Canaan by the Sword of the Spirit instead of the physical sword. But in rejecting the spiritual sword, they were left only with the physical sword.
And so, the Passover Age was characterized by carnal things, including the physical sword by which they would conquer Canaan. Yes, God was in it, but it was not the perfect order, nor did all that bloodshed really reflect the heart of God. Did God really hate the Canaanites? Did He really desire their blood? Was the God of the Old Testament a God of vengeance, rather than a God of Love? NOT AT ALL. The Canaanite genocide was the result of Israel's refusal to obtain the greater weapon of the Sword of the Spirit, by which they could have CONVERTED the Canaanites by the power and demonstration of the Spirit.
The fulfillment of Pentecost in Acts 2 shows us how the alternative Sword would have worked on the Canaanites, had that Sword been Israel's "weapon of choice." Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He said to "kill" them by baptism. What we call the Great Commission is actually the operation of the Sword of the Spirit, which Israel was offered but rejected at Mount Sinai.
Unfortunately, by the fourth century the Church had lost this Sword of the Spirit. Constantine then picked up the physical sword by which he conquered. The Church reverted back to its Passover level of experience. Pentecost's Sword of the Spirit was discontinued. The focus of the Church began to shift from the resurrection back to the Cross. The Cross became a physical Sword. And the Church soon learned to conquer men by military might and to convert men by force of arms.
This is the real significance of Constantine's vision of the sword in the sky with the words, "In this sign, conquer." If he had known anything about the Sword of the Spirit, he might have used a different sword. But like Israel of old, he did not. So he assumed that he was to conquer by military force. This marked the greatest turning point in the Church in its reversion from Pentecost to Passover.
Dr. Stephen Jones