Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Pastor's Corner - April 17th, 2020

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A Congregation of the United Church of God

Pastor's Corner - April 17th, 2020

Despite the physical distance that we have been experiencing this Spring Holy Day season, it was an incredibly meaningful set of days. Like you - I observed that they went by too quickly, and there was a tendency to have them blur together as a result of the quarantine - but I hope that you found it incredibly meaningful to be able to follow along in the story with our calendar this year.

As you all likely noticed - this year, the days lined up with the year when we believe Christ was crucified, 31AD

As the story progresses, the Tuesday of Passover night after He had the Passover with His disciples, Christ was betrayed, arrested, and illegally tried before the Jews. The following morning (Wednesday) He was taken to Pilate. That Wednesday (Passover Day) would have seen His beating, crucifixion and death, His body being placed in the tomb before Sundown on Wednesday, the night we kept the Night to Be Much Observed. The First Holy Day began that night and Christ’s body lay in the tomb through the First Day of Unleavened Bread. After the annual Sabbath, the women went and purchased spices to anoint Christ’s body. They prepared those spices, and then rested on the weekly Sabbath, waiting to anoint Christ’s body until after the Weekly Sabbath, their first opportunity being Sunday morning.

We know the story - when they came to the tomb early Sunday morning, Christ had already been resurrected.

He had been in the grave three days and three nights, just as He said He would be.

From the Night/Day of Abib 15 (Wednesday at sundown to Thursday at sundown) to the Night and Day of Abib 16, (Thursday at sundown to Friday at sundown), then finally the Night and Day of Abib 17 (Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown), and Christ was resurrected at the end of the Sabbath on Abib 17 (Saturday), and the tomb was empty come Sunday morning.

This was not a Good Friday crucifixion to Sunday morning resurrection - there isn’t enough time to fulfill the sign of Jonah that Christ himself stated would be the sign of His being the Messiah.  Three days and three nights from the time he was crucified, using what we see in scripture, puts Christ’s resurrection at the end of the weekly Sabbath, exactly 3 days and 3 nights in the grave.

Christ was our wave sheaf offering, the First of the first fruits, offered before and accepted by the Father, and this past Sunday (again, the 31AD timeline) saw the offering of that wave sheaf on our behalf, and the beginning of the count to Pentecost as we see outlined in Leviticus 23:6-11 Leviticus 23:6-11 [6] And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. [7] In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [8] But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [9] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [10] Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest: [11] And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
American King James Version×

We’re now in the midst of that count toward Pentecost, (the first of the seven ‘weeks’ ending at sundown this Sabbath), and in the time of Israel, and today spiritually - the harvest has begun… 

… and brethren, look upon the fields, they are white for the harvest. 

One of the interesting side effects of this outbreak of COVID-19, has been people asking some of the important questions of life. Lulled out of their complacency, and feeling some discomfort has got many asking the big, important questions.

Why is this happening? What comes next? How will this affect me and my family? Where can I find comfort and relief? Is God listening? Is this a message?  

Brethren, we have an incredible opportunity to help people make sense of this. To be sense-makers for people who are struggling and dealing with the effects of this outbreak. Christ told His disciples to look upon the fields, for they were white, and ripe for the harvest. How much more now in these final days - as the predictions and prophecies that we see in scripture beginning to come to pass in part. How much more when people are looking around wondering how each year can be worse than the last? These are unique times - and we are given a unique opportunity to be a part of this spiritual harvest - for us to be able to use the truth God has given us to comfort and help others make sense out of these events. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Sabbath, we’ll see you all tomorrow at 2:00 for the Sabbath service, and then at 4:30 for the congregational Bible Study on Fundamental 7 - Three Days and Three Nights.