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The time I was abandoned at Sky Harbor International Airport

January 6, 2018

7As the plane landed in Phoenix, Arizona, I felt yet another surge of excitement;  I was charged up and ready to go.  I had been given a beautifully official-looking invitation to be the guest speaker at an Arizona high school graduation, and the administrator has really pulled out all of the stops for me:  hotel room, a coast-to-coast round trip ticket and a post-graduation night of celebration events in Phoenix, including a choice seat at a Diamondbacks baseball game with the graduates.  The leadership of the school treated me royally, sending me the tickets along with a nice note about how they were all excited about my appearance.  I was on a calendar crunch;  I had only a small window of time before I had to get back to Knoxville and my job here.  The school promised me a flight out the next morning so that I would only miss one day of work.

I got off the plane and headed to the gate, looking for my contact.  They didn’t seem to be around, so I gathered my luggage at the downstairs carousel and came back up to the gate.  I walked around and looked for the school van in the parking lanes.  Still nobody.

I waited.  Fifteen minutes.  Thirty minutes.  An hour. Hour and a half.

These were the days before cell phones, so I fumbled around and found a quarter and dialed the school.  The administrator answered the phone.

“Is there someone here to pick me up?” I asked.  “I don’t see anyone from the school.”

“What are you doing in Phoenix?” the administrator demanded.  I was taken aback.

“Uh, I took the flight you had sent.”

There was a pause.  “You’re not supposed to be here until tomorrow,” said the administrator slowly.

I stared at the ticket.  “I took the plane flight that you had printed on the ticket, sir.  These are the dates, right here on the ticket.”

There was another pause and then a deep groan.  “I mixed up.  I ordered the wrong dates on the flight schedule.  I am so so sorry.”

So … I had a nice non-speaking cross-country flight. Since it was imperative that I get back the next day, the calendar mishap was quite an embarrassing situation for the high school administrator, who the next night had to explain why Brad Zockoll was invited, accepted, took the flight but was currently invisible.

We all follow the calendar as accurately as possible, don’t we?  We see amazing accuracy in calendar truths within Scriptures. Dates and days are mathematical absolutes that make the Scriptures immensely powerful when we see how they are followed without fail. I found something fascinating with the timing of God’s calendar in introducing the Holy Spirit to the Believers (Acts 2).

I want you to follow this carefully – it may get a bit deep, but if you follow the prophetic picture as displayed the the timing, you will get a powerful revelation. God painted a  perfect picture of prophecy when He laid out the story of Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit to organize the first assembly of Believers that we now call the church..

The story in Acts chapter 2 is of the coming of the Holy Spirit to the 120 followers of Christ.  Now, watch this:  we go back to Leviticus 23 and read that God tells the Jews to keep the Passover in order to commemorate and remember that the Israelites were free after one final plague judgment when the Lord would kill all the first born unless the family of the house followed His instruction.  They were to kill a Passover Lamb, take the blood and put it on the door posts in the middle and sides.  When they did, the death angel passed over (hence Passover). This was a “type prophecy” of Jesus Christ, whose blood shed for us would save us from eternal death and judgment of God.  Leviticus 23 was instruction for that now to be a holiday.

In Leviticus 23 the Passover feast pictured the death of Jesus Christ. And on what feast day did Jesus die?

Passover Day, on the 14th of Nisan.

God’s calendar was perfect.

But let me take you to the second step: the Feast of the First Fruits, which occurred on the next day after the Sabbath, right after the Passover. That obviously would be Sunday. The first fruits of a harvest is when the farmer would take a representative section of his barley grain and would bring it as the “first fruit” of his barley harvest, thanking God and signifying that whole crop is guaranteed to be good by the first fruits.

Jesus is the type of the first fruits as 1 Corinthians 15:10 asserts: “Christ the first fruits of them that slept.” Jesus’ resurrection was real and powerful enough to defeat death – and being the first fruit, He represents what will follow, namely the rest of us Believers.

Jesus rose on Sunday.  The day after the Sabbath.  On the celebration day known as the Feast of First Fruits.

Okay, so far on the calendar:  Jesus was crucified on the Passover, He then rose on the Feast of the First Fruits, fulfilling the prophecy.

There’s more.

It has to do with us, the Believers.  God’s calndar then follows what happens after Jesus ascends.

Go back to Leviticus 23 and you will see that exactly 50 days later you had the Feast of Harvest for the wheat crop. This is known as the Pentecost and it was another “first fruits” celebration, but this time for wheat, not barley. The people would take the wheat sample and make it into two loaves and bring it to the celebration. This was not a loose sheaf of grain like the barley harvest; two wheat loaves were carried by each farming family to the holiday.

Barley had no leaven, and leaven represents sin.  On the First Fruits day (barley offering) the Sinless One rose.  On Pentecost, however, we know the wheat crop does indeed have leaven, which represents sin… because we all have sin.  On the Day of Pentecost was when the Holy Spirit was instrumental in founding the fist church in Christian history.  What is the wheat’s symbolism?  Sin.  The formation of the church reminds us of the need to stay close to Christ in asking forgiveness, because we all still have that “leaven” sin.

Yes, this last part of the calendar matches up with the celebration calendar, step by step.  Passover, First fruits and now Pentecost.

Why bake it into a loaf? Well, think about it.  Is the assembly of believers a sloppy mass of individuals doing what they want?  No.  It is organized and “fitted together,” just like the “organization” of the necessary ingredients in order to make a loaf.

Exactly fifty days later, on the Feast of Pentecost, when the organized first fruits are baked together, we see the church organized and initiated.  Fully organized.

Not half-baked.

Forgive me, the joke was too tempting.

But getting back to the Calendar:

  1. Jesus dies on the Passover Day, when the lamb was to be sacrificed.  Jesus was the Lamb.
  2. Jesus rises on the third day, the exact day of the Feast of the First Fruits as the example of the Eternal Harvest of Heaven-Goers.
  3. The Holy Spirit comes fifty days later on the Feast of Pentecost, signifying the organization of Believers ready to serve and worship and readying for the Kingdom.

Exactly according to plan.

Exactly according to the Calendar.

Isn’t God amazing?

 

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