Christian Churches of God
The Harvests of God,
the New Moon Sacrifices,
and the 144,000
(Edition 4.0 19951012-19990828-20071130)
This paper shows the complex interrelationship between the Plan of Salvation and the significance of the sacrificial system. The examination shows that there is a definite relationship between the numbers involved on a yearly and Jubilee basis (using both the prophetic year and also the Sign of Jonah), and the composition of the Seventy and the 144,000. The New Testament Church’s adherence to the New Moon, Sabbaths and Holy Days is seen in a more comprehensive structure.
The Harvests of God, the New Moon Sacrifices, and the 144,000
From an examination of the Feasts we observe that they are centred on three harvest seasons based on the Lunar Calendar as it functions in the Northern Hemisphere. The harvests commence at the Passover season and progress through Pentecost to the Feast of Tabernacles. Passover and Unleavened Bread occur in Spring and, hence, are often termed the Spring Harvest. Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, is the Early Summer Harvest and Tabernacles is the Late or Autumn/Fall Harvest. These harvests are of varying types and sizes.
The very first of the harvests is that of the Wave-Sheaf Offering. That occurs in the Feast of Unleavened Bread. That sheaf was waved before the Lord. It was one sheaf only and of the earliest grain harvested. The symbolism is quite clearly seen to be that of Christ as the first of the first-fruits. This event happened from the morning after his resurrection. He was resurrected on the Saturday evening. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early on the first day of the week (Sunday) while it was dark and she found him already risen. She came back with Peter and John but they did not see him, so they returned home (Jn. 20:10). Mary remained and saw Christ more or less immediately before his ascension as the Wave-Sheaf Offering. That is why he would not let her hold him, because he had not yet ascended to God. He instructed her to go to the Apostles and to tell them that he was ascending to their Father and his Father and to their God and his God.
John 20:1-2 Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag'dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." (RSV)
There is no doubt that Christ was ascending directly to God at this time or else there would have been no reason to speak as he did. He certainly saw the others again well before his final ascension and, in fact, saw most that evening.
John 20:15-23 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rab-bo'ni!" (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." 18 Mary Mag'dalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her. 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." (RSV)
Note from this text that the ascension was imminent and that Christ saw the Apostles that night. He breathed on them saying, “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you”.
He had thus been to the Father and was then in a position to advance the Holy Spirit to the Apostles. They must, therefore, have been reconciled to God from the Wave Sheaf. This is further supported by the fact that, from the next verses, he was in a position to satisfy the doubts of Thomas by allowing contact some eight days later – and weeks before the final ascension.
John 20:24-29 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." 26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you." 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." 28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." (RSV)
From this point Christ was able to allow the remainder of the harvests to commence. The next harvest sequence was mirrored in the holy day of Pentecost. Thus the Wave-Sheaf Offering was allocated solely to the first of the first-fruits which was Messiah. Each of these harvest sequences is allocated by the biblical narrative. This is mentioned in Exodus 23:19.
Exodus 23:14-19 "Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. 15 You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread; as I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. 16 You shall keep the feast of harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the feast of ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. 17 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord GOD. 18 "You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread, or let the fat of my feast remain until the morning. 19 "The first of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God. "You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk. (RSV)
The first of the first-fruits was specifically reserved for the House of God. This was the Wave-Sheaf Offering and it was that offering that was brought into the House of God. That offering symbolised the ascent of Messiah to the House of God on the Sunday morning after his resurrection as the first of the first-fruits of Israel. That occurred on the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The general first-fruits harvest then occurred at Pentecost, here referred to as the feast of harvest. The time-frame of this harvest was from the day after the Sabbath in Unleavened Bread. Fifty days were counted from that day so that there were seven perfect Sabbaths, to the next day after the seventh Sabbath (Lev. 23:15-16, Interlinear Bible). That can only be a Sunday. Thus the harvest of the first-fruits was over fifty days from the day after the Sabbath to the fiftieth day, which was also a day after the seventh perfect Sabbath, or perfect week, i.e. seven days from Sunday to Saturday. This next harvest, that of the first-fruits, was of the elect from Pentecost. This harvest was ongoing over forty Jubilees or some two thousand years. The Earth could not be harmed until this was complete.
Revelation 7:3 saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads." (RSV)
The same instructions occur at Exodus 34:18-26. Exodus 34:22 shows that Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, is the first-fruits of the wheat harvest.
Exodus 34:18-26 "The feast of unleavened bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib; for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. 19 All that opens the womb is mine, all your male cattle, the firstlings of cow and sheep. 20 The firstling of an ass you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the first-born of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty. 21 "Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. 22 And you shall observe the feast of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end. 23 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel. 24 For I will cast out nations before you, and enlarge your borders; neither shall any man desire your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year. 25 "You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left until the morning. 26 The first of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk." (RSV)
The two earlier harvests were of specific types, namely the barley and the wheat harvests. This shows that there were specific applications to these harvests by type. Christ was the first of the first-fruits of the barley harvest. The elect were the first-fruits of the wheat harvest. The general harvest at year’s end was that of Ingathering. That harvest is the ingathering of the work of the Lord. It occurs at the very beginning of Tabernacles, on the first evening (see the paper Ingathering (No. 139)), showing that the end harvest precedes the millennial period, which is represented by Tabernacles. The last Feast of the sequence is at the end of Tabernacles and this Feast is termed the Last Great Day. This represents the Second Resurrection and is in fact the final harvest of the entire Earth. All humans will be resurrected and dealt with in this period of approximately one hundred years. They will be alive again as flesh and blood human beings (Ezek. 37:1-14). They will be taught the truth then, under instruction, and brought in as one people. This period is referred to in Isaiah 65:20.
Isaiah 65:20 No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. (RSV)
The Millennium and resurrection are referred to in Revelation 20:1-15.
Revelation 20:1-15 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years were ended. After that he must be loosed for a little while. 4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom judgment was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years. 7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; 15 and if any one's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (RSV)
Note that there are two resurrections here. The First Resurrection reigns with Christ for one thousand years. The Second Resurrection occurs after the thousand years. The Great White Throne Judgment does not occur until after the thousand years are over. The saints rule with Christ over the Earth while Satan is shut away. The nations are still on the Earth over this period and Satan will deceive them again at the end of the thousand years. All activities over both resurrections are confined to the Earth. The first of the first-fruits was the only harvest to go away to God.
The general first-fruits of the wheat harvest are resurrected at the end of the two-thousand year period at the return of Messiah, as we see from 1Thessalonians 4:15-17.
1Thessalonians 4:15-17 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; 17 then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. (RSV)
There are thus three Festival periods, each of which has a harvest, Christ being the first as the Wave-Sheaf Offering. The elect follow. They become the House of God (1Cor. 3:16-17) from their election and receipt of the Holy Spirit from baptism and the Feast of Pentecost of 30 CE.
1Corinthians 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are. (RSV)
The harvest of God comprises the whole Earth, which includes all mankind and the Host. The holy-day periods reflect the Plan of Salvation of the planet. God is going to redeem the Earth in spite of the demons’ and man’s obstinate behaviour. The sequence will be under the conditions which best enable the learning processes and skills to be developed in each individual.
It will be recalled from Ezekiel’s vision that there were wheels within wheels of the Cherubim. The structure is explained in detail in the paper The Meaning of Ezekiel’s Vision (No. 108). We will now relate the text of Ezekiel 1:14-17. We know from Ezekiel 1:12 that the Cherubim went wherever the Spirit moved. They went with it and did not turn in their movement. This statement refers to the movement of the pillar of fire and cloud that represented Christ in the wilderness with Israel (Ex. 13:21-22; 14:19-24; 33:9-10; Num. 12:5; 14:14; Deut. 31:15; Neh. 9:12,19; Ps. 99:7). We know from Paul’s text in 1Timothy 3:15 that the Church became the pillar and the ground of truth.
1Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (KJV)
Thus the pillar and ground of truth is the ecclesia (Gk: ekklesia) or congregation of the Living God. The congregation or ecclesia becomes the House of God, the oikoo, meaning a dwelling and by implication a family; hence, also a home or house (household: see RSV) or temple.
The Cherubim are thus themselves representative of the House of God, which was represented in the physical sense by the congregation of Israel in the wilderness. We see the dispositions from Numbers 9 and 10. The pillar of cloud by day covered the Tabernacle as it was raised up and was there in the evening as a pillar of fire (Num. 9:15-16). The cloud was the means by which they knew when to move to the next location. Thus, the congregation in the wilderness was never confined to one location, and their locations were determined by the presence of the Lord in the Spirit. The congregation encamped in specific order each time they moved and did not alter that order as we see in the Cherubim. Thus, by their arrangement the congregation represented the administrative organisation of the celestial system. The earthly Tabernacle was a replica of the heavenly system.
Hebrews 8:5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary; for when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, "See that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain." (RSV)
The Cherubim were to reflect the administrative sequence as well as the structure. There were four in sequence and those groupings had specific characteristics. The Spirit entered the congregation and those people were divided into inner and outer groups, as was the congregation of the Host.
On a physical level this was reflected in the priesthood and the congregation. Levi, being the tribe in whom the priesthood was vested, occupied the inner area around the Tabernacle upon which the Spirit or Shekinah rested.
The sons of Aaron were responsible for sounding all warning to the nation (Num. 10:8). This function became vested in the Church from the new Order of Melchisedek consequent to their appointment.
Hebrews 7:11-12 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levit'ical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchiz'edek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. (RSV)
There was thus a gradual concentration of the congregation around and towards the Tabernacle, which itself was comprised of an inner and an outer tent. The outer tent had to be eliminated to make entry to the inner Tabernacle possible. Thus the end sequence was of a different and more perfect structure.
Hebrews 9:1-12 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tent was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, 4 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; 7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary is not yet opened as long as the outer tent is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot perfect the conscience of the worshipper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various ablutions, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation. 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. (RSV)
This text, especially from Hebrews 9:10, shows we are dealing with the sacrificial law only being removed. Christ did away with the sacrifices once and for all and allowed us to participate in this process.
The old structure was thus comprised of the tribes of the congregation within which was the tribe of Levi. Within Levi was the Aaronic priesthood that entered the outer sanctuary. Only the High Priest entered the Inner Sanctuary or Holy of Holies and then only once a year.
From Pentecost 30 CE the structure was altered. The next Cherub represented the removal of the outer Temple and the inner elect became themselves the naos or the Temple in which God resided as the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant is no longer necessary because we are the Ark of the Covenant. The Holy Spirit places the Law in us as the Law was placed in the Ark (see the paper The Ark of the Covenant (No. 196)).
1Corinthians 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are. (RSV)
The wheels within wheels of this structure thus comprised the outer structure, which was the nation Israel from which the congregation was drawn and into which the Gentiles were inducted. The elect then comprised the inner core (or wheel) which goes to make up the administrative structure under Messiah in the restoration. They have tasks and functions now within the elect. The end responsibilities, however, are as yet to be determined. These people who constitute the ecclesia or Church fall into two groups: the inner wheel is that of the 144,000; the outer wheel is comprised of a simple discrete group who keep the commandments of God. All of these have the faith of the saints and are baptised into the body of Christ, being of the second harvest of the first-fruits. The two groups are mentioned in Revelation. The first group of the 144,000 is mentioned in Revelation 7. This group is sealed over time. The Earth is protected until this event – the full sealing of the elect – has occurred.
The Earth is then allowed to be destroyed by the very forces set in motion by the fallen Host in their own attitudes and systems.
We see the process from Revelation 7:1-17, where the 144,000 are allocated to the Messianic system.
Revelation 7:1-17 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, 3 saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel, 5 twelve thousand sealed out of the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand of the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand of the tribe of Gad, 6 twelve thousand of the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand of the tribe of Naph'tali, twelve thousand of the tribe of Manas'seh, 7 twelve thousand of the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand of the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand of the tribe of Is'sachar, 8 twelve thousand of the tribe of Zeb'ulun, twelve thousand of the tribe of Joseph, twelve thousand sealed out of the tribe of Benjamin. 9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!" 11 And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen." 13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, "Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?" 14 I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night within his temple; and he who sits upon the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (RSV)
This group is allocated to the tribes as a special priesthood under the twelve Judges of the twelve tribes. All of the tribes are included in this allocation, as Levi takes its place in the priesthood and Dan merges with Ephraim to make way for Levi. Thus, Joseph becomes Dan and Ephraim instead of Ephraim and Manasseh. Manasseh takes an allocation in its own right.
The 144,000 are sealed from on high. They know who they are when they are given the things by which they are distinguished. They are given the seal and also a new song.
Revelation 14:1-5 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. (KJV)
The women who defile the Earth are the false religions or churches who speak in the name of Christ. The false system is seen immediately following this text from Revelation 14:6 as the Babylonian system of false worship. The elect are not defiled by these systems. They are the first-fruits. This first-fruit system is one we see that becomes effective from the harvest of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks. The Wave-Sheaf harvest or first of the first-fruits was Christ.
The selection of the 144,000 is tied to the numbers ordained by Christ. Many have assumed that the 144,000 are selected entirely from the final period of the Church. There is no real evidence to support that conjecture and, indeed, to ensure even distribution among the Gentiles, a long period is required. The numbers involved are significant. The number 144,000 allocated to forty Jubilees is 3,600 per Jubilee. Conversely, the period of forty Jubilees is also fifty generations. Thus 2,880 people were selected for each generation.
For those who adhere to the era system, this process must be distributed over seven Churches. Of the seven, two are unacceptable to God and only a small number of those make it into the Kingdom of God. Those Churches are the Sardis and Laodicean. Those are two of the four Churches still alive at the return of Messiah (see Rev. 2 and 3). The other two are Philadelphia and Thyatira. Philadelphia is small, and Thyatira has most of its work done centuries before the return of Messiah. Thus the number of the elect in the twentieth century is small indeed. The allocation per Church is some 20,571 (20,571 x 7+3 = 144,000). The three are perhaps taken up in the transfiguration scene as Christ, Moses and Elijah. Allocated to five Churches, the number is increased to 28,800.
Given the full numbers of Thyatira and Philadelphia alive in the last days of the twentieth century, there is still only a maximum number of 57,600 able to be alive at any one time. Given the duration of two-and-a-half generations over the one hundred years, there is a maximum number alive of 23,040. This figure is inflated. A much lower figure is involved.
The 144,000 divided by years of the Jubilees are seventy-two per year. We might see some significance in this number. The Sanhedrin was seventy in number. This Council was established from Sinai as the Council of the Elders. The Council of Israel was established on a system of replication of the celestial system (Heb. 8:5). The Council of the Seventy was comprised of an Inner and an Outer Council, from the Psalms. The allocations were as thirty and forty per division, plus two (see Rev. 4 and 5 for the Inner Council).
Christ established this system of the Seventy again from Luke 10:1. The Seventy were ordained and dispatched two by two into every place where Christ was about to go. Thus Christ was preceded by his disciples of the Seventy, in pairs. It is established so that it would occur over two thousand years. There were also seventy nations from the allocation of the Host to the nations according to the number of the Council. Thus there was also an allocation of 2,000 per nation to the 144,000 or central administration.
There is another aspect of this text. The Sanhedrin was never left at seventy for judgment. There was always seventy plus one in deliberation. However, something happens in relation to this structure when Christ ordains the Seventy. The Greek text shows that the word is hebdomekonta (or seventy) and [duo] (or two) is added in brackets to the text. The word is translated as seventy-two in Marshall’s Interlinear main text. However, most Bibles translate the word as seventy from its understood meaning. We are thus dealing with seventy who are accompanied by two. This structure was to epitomise the replication of the administrative model every year for forty Jubilees until the full number of 144,000 was selected. Of course, the sequence is symbolic and there may be more or less selected over the time frame as circumstances dictate or warrant. However, they symbolise a yearly system of sacrifice.
The preoccupation of the elect with the distinction between the 144,000 and the Multitude is unwarranted. More importantly, it could lead to self-righteousness. The purpose in the analysis of the numbers and structure is to develop the awareness of the administrative structure of the elect and the Government of God in the restoration. Only from the redemption of the 144,000 to the Lamb on Zion is the everlasting Gospel preached to the Earth.
Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, (KJV)
After this the Babylonian system shall fall.
Revelation 14:8-10 Another angel, a second, followed, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of her impure passion."[fornication] 9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If any one worships the beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also shall drink the wine of God's wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (RSV)
(cf. the paper The Messages of Revelation 14 (No. 270)).
The KJV refers to Babylon as a great city. However, the term is implied from other texts, particularly Revelation 18:10,18,19,21-24.
Revelation 18:21-24 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more; 22 and the sound of harpers and minstrels, of flute players and trumpeters, shall be heard in thee no more; and a craftsman of any craft shall be found in thee no more; and the sound of the millstone shall be heard in thee no more; 23 and the light of a lamp shall shine in thee no more; and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall be heard in thee no more; for thy merchants were the great men of the earth, and all nations were deceived by thy sorcery. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth." (RSV)
This false religious system deceives the whole world by sorcery. The word is pharmakeia or pharmacy, i.e. medicine, hence magic and thence sorcery. The Babylonian system relied on magic and mysticism as its religious base. It spreads to the whole world before the final destruction. It is a whore from Revelation 17:1. The whore is a woman or Church in the prophetic sense. The system is seated on a city of seven hills (Rev. 17:9). This woman commits spiritual fornication with the kings of the Earth over a long period of time. The Beast that is to rule the Earth comes from the kings that this whore has set up (Rev. 17:14). This system makes war with the Lamb. Thus the system is alive until the return of the Messiah. The whore is drunk with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus. This church has thus killed many of the elect on religious grounds. This system is powerful and wields authority over a system which itself is blasphemous (Rev. 17:3-6).
The general Multitude is listed as those who make their robes white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14). Thus, they are baptised through grace in Jesus Christ. They serve God before His Throne and within the Temple. It is thus an academic exercise at the human level to ponder on who is or is not within either group. To be in either group is an honour. Many are in this group through martyrdom from the false religious system. All have been persecuted by it. Both groups keep the commandments of God. One is within the other. Both are the seed of the woman. The seed of the woman is Jesus Christ (Gen. 3:15). The commandments of God and the testimony of Christ are the two essential elements for determining the elect.
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (KJV)
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (KJV)
These elements thus constitute the patience of the saints. Thus keeping all of the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus is essential to salvation.
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (KJV)
The tree of life and entry to the City of God are determined by the commandments and the testimony of Jesus.
The determination of the 144,000 is seen from a number of biblical texts, and it can also be noted from a number of biblical texts that the Plan of Salvation is broken up into three sections. Each of those sections is represented by forty Jubilees. These forty Jubilees span some two thousand years. The plan is reflected in the life of Moses who was a prototype of Messiah (Deut. 18:15; Mat. 17:5; Acts 3:22-23). Moses lived for one hundred and twenty years: forty years in Egypt, forty years in Midian and forty years in the wilderness. He died and did not enter the Promised Land, which can be held to represent the millennial rest. These divisions represent Israel over history from Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to Messiah and from the first Advent to the second Advent. The periods of forty years can be taken as illustrative of the forty-Jubilee periods, each representing two thousand years. The full period of six thousand years is then illustrative of the Plan of Salvation from Adam to the millennial restoration under Messiah.
The final period in the wilderness from Pentecost 30 CE to the fortieth Jubilee, which is to occur from 2027-28 (determined from Ezek. 1:1), covers forty Jubilees or approximately two thousand years. There is significance in the fact that if we divide the number of 144,000 by 2,000 we get the number 72. There are 3,600 to each of the Jubilees. The number 72 is of biblical significance, especially from Luke.
The three divisions of 40 Jubilees can also be seen in the Reign of the Kings of Israel (cf. the paper Rule of the Kings Part I: Saul (No. 282A)).
The New Moon sacrifices in the determination of the 144,000
The New Moons are central to the understanding of the Council and the 144,000. The number of the elect that is positioned with Messiah at his Advent is listed as being 144,000 (Rev. 7:1-8; 14:1). The number is in addition to the Great Multitude of Revelation 7:9-17 and it is derived from a series of Councils. These people are the central administration of the Government of God. The Sign of Jonah extends over a span of time in phases. The first phase was from the crucifixion in 30 CE to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 CE (see the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13)). The next phase was over 40 Jubilees (or 2,000 years). 1996 was the 3,000th anniversary of David’s entry to Jerusalem and the 2,000th anniversary of Christ’s birth. 1996 was also the end of the Times of the Gentiles (see the papers The Fall of Egypt: the Prophecy of Pharaoh’s Broken Arms (No. 36)). 2028 represents the 2,000th anniversary of the ministry of Jesus Christ and the first year of the new millennial Jubilee (cf. the paper Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250)).
The Seventy-two thus constitute the sacrificial offerings of the Holy Day system. It is impossible to understand what is happening in the structure of the Government of God or of His process of worship without the New Moons. Indeed, it is impossible to be in the 144,000 unless the elect keep the New Moons together with the Sabbath and the Feasts. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). The restoration is the same Law given to Moses and to us as the Church. There are two Churches that do not keep the Covenant of God in its entirety and those two Churches are eliminated from the First Resurrection, namely Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6) and Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22). Sardis is dead and Laodicea is lukewarm. Only individuals of those systems are accepted into the Kingdom of God in the First Resurrection. The remnants of the Laodicean and Sardis eras are removed to combine with the Philadelphian era (cf. the paper The Pillars of Philadelphia (No. 283)). History shows that those two systems did not keep the New Moons. The others do and enter into God’s Rest.
The Seventy-two are determined from a specific sequence of sacrifices, which demonstrate the Plan of God. The number 72 is not an accidental number: it is the precise number of sacrifices offered to the Lord in any one year of the Jubilee system. The sacrificial year can be seen from Ezekiel 45. The text in Ezekiel 45 shows exactly the holy days of God and what numbers should be taken into account.
Ezekiel 45:16-17 All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel. 17 And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the Sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel. (KJV)
The priority is from Sabbath to New Moon to Feast, here expressed in the reverse order. Thus, the calculations must include the New Moons. When the New Moons are included then some interesting things happen to the numbers. The weekly Sabbaths are of course unchanged. However, the New Moons, being some twelve in a normal year, when coupled with the Feast Holy Days number 19. Together with the 52 weekly Sabbaths, the number becomes seventy-one. The full number is, however, seventy plus two, as we will see.
The composition of the Seventy represents the seventy sacrifices or Korban of the Sacred system. The sacrifices are the things being spoken of as despised in Malachi 1:12. It is one of these Korban, namely the Passover lamb that removes the priesthood (Mal. 2:3). The sacrifices are: the fifty-two Sabbaths, the seven Feast Holy Days and the twelve New Moons, together with the Wave Sheaf Offering (Lev. 23:9-14). Trumpets is a double sacrifice, being both Feast and New Moon (Num. 29:1-6).
The Prince supplies the sacrifices. The Prince is in fact Messiah. The real point here is that we are given to Christ by God as the fulfilment of the tithe allocation of the Feasts, New Moons and Holy Days.
The New Moon of the intercalary year is not included as an extra aspect. The prophetic year was 360 days, and the totals of days limit the year to 52 Sabbaths and twelve New Moons only with the seven Feast Holy Days plus the Wave Sheaf, totalling seventy-two sacrifices. Spread out over the two thousand years that totals 144,000 sacrifices over the period of the seven Churches that are poured out as drink offering to the Lord. Thus the 144,000 are martyrs or victims following Christ in their dedication. Most of these martyrs were killed by what purports to be mainstream Christianity over its history. Thus, the whore of Revelation is the church drunk on the blood of the saints and the martyrs.
Christ was the first of the victims or korban of the Feast, which in effect, did away with the Levitical priesthood.
Malachi 2:3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it. (KJV)
Here we see that one of the sacrifices of the Feasts would take the priesthood away with it. This korban or victim was Jesus Christ, or Yehoshua or Joshua the Messiah, as the Passover Lamb. He removed the Levitical priesthood and instituted the Melchisedek priesthood.
Thus the 144,000 are the sacrifices of the Temple who are to become the Holy of Holies and the central administration of the Kingdom of God. Most of the 144,000 have already been poured out as a drink offering to God. Only a few remain to the Last Days. The general Multitude then constitutes the remainder who enter the Kingdom of God in the First Resurrection.
The number 144,000 is made up of the total of 2,000 Councils of the Seventy plus two. When Christ ordained the Seventy, it was actually listed as Seventy[two] in the texts (Lk. 10:1,17). This was the traditional way of referring to the Sanhedrin. The Septuagint was also written by the Seventy (LXX in Roman numerals), referred to also as the Seventy-two. The sentiment is that God and Christ are always part of the Council. The Sanhedrin was always more than seventy and it included the High Priest and the Deputy High Priest.
The closure of the Temple until the end of the plagues of the wrath of God
The harvest ends with the last of the general Multitude that die in the Lord during the tribulation.
Revelation 14:12-20 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth." "Blessed indeed," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!" 14 Then I looked, and lo, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat upon the cloud, "Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe." 16 So he who sat upon the cloud swung his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. 17 And another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has power over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Put in your sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe." 19 So the angel swung his sickle on the earth and gathered the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God; 20 and the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the wine press, as high as a horse's bridle, for one thousand six hundred stadia. (RSV)
These people who die in the Lord are those who keep the commandments of God. Thus, tribulation against the followers of Christ occurs right up until the time that Christ comes.
From the time that Messiah comes, the harvest of the Earth is closed until the wrath of God subdues the Earth. There are seven angels released to effect this retribution on those who take the mark of the Beast. Those that had achieved victory over the Beast and his image and his mark or system were those who are then given the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb.
There is thus a conjunction between the Old and New Testaments. Both are necessary to salvation. Grace stems from Christ’s reconciliation to God under His commandments.
Revelation 15:1-8 Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and wonderful, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is ended. 2 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and wonderful are thy deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are thy ways, O King of the ages! 4 Who shall not fear and glorify thy name, O Lord? For thou alone art holy. All nations shall come and worship thee, for thy judgments have been revealed." 5 After this I looked, and the temple of the tent of witness in heaven was opened, 6 and out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues, robed in pure bright linen, and their breasts girded with golden girdles. 7 And one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives for ever and ever; 8 and the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended. (RSV)
Note that no one could enter the Temple until the seven plagues were ended. The Temple, as we have seen, is the elect which God is using to fill with Himself as the Holy Spirit. This process is halted until the Earth is brought into subjection under the seven plagues. This process is effected under authority of the Archangels or the Living Creatures that surround the Throne.
The harvests thus halt at the return of Messiah and before the actual beginning of the Millennium proper. That is why the Ingathering is taken up on the first night of the Feast of Tabernacles and cannot be left until the morning, by law (Ex. 23:19). All of the harvest of the first-fruits is done to an exact sequence and that is why the Law requires prompt payment (Ex. 22:29). Christ began this harvest as the first of the first-fruits as the Wave Sheaf. It lasted two thousand years and will go into the Millennium and end at the Great White Throne Judgment.
God makes a promise through the prophet Malachi at the close of the Old Testament. This promise effectively closes the revelation of God through the prophets in anticipation of the Church.
Malachi 4:1-6 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. 4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (KJV)
The promise is that the Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in his wings. The Law is to be remembered and the relationships of the family are to be restored. The punishment for not undertaking the responsibilities incumbent on Christ, and hence the Church, in the restoration is to be smitten with the unconverted.
Christ said that Elijah would restore all things.
Matthew 17:10-13 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. (KJV)
The sequence is that the restoration precedes the Advent. It is thus obvious that the Church is expected to undertake the restoration prior to the Advent of Messiah. It is not acceptable to be inactive in the process of the restoration. The attributes of Elijah rested in John the Baptist yet that prophecy had not been fulfilled in John. The punishment for not undertaking the process is to be cursed along with the unconverted.
What does the restoration of all things entail?
We know that Christ spoke of the structure of God’s government and also of His system of worship. The restoration is an extensive subject. Here we are concerned with the question of one aspect of that restoration, namely: Are the New Moons part of the restoration and are we required to institute their observance when we are empowered, or able, to do so?
The New Moons are clearly part of the restoration. Isaiah foretold their institution and their enforcement.
God speaks through Isaiah and states His purpose and the coming prosperity of Israel. God looks to those who are humble and contrite in spirit and tremble at His word (Isa. 66:2). Those who tremble at the word of God are hated and cast out by their brethren for His Name’s sake; but the brethren will be put to shame (Isa. 66:5).
Isaiah 66:22-23 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. (KJV)
The New Moons are seen to rank with the Sabbaths. They take precedence over the Shabbathown or the Feasts and are mentioned in priority and must be kept pure in adherence (e.g. Isa. 1:13-14; see also the papers The New Moons (No. 125) and The New Moons of Israel (No. 132). The prince is responsible for their implementation. Thus, this is an ongoing responsibility.
Ezekiel 45:17 And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel. (KJV)
The entire congregation – leader and people – is commanded to worship on both the Sabbath and the New Moons (see also Ezek. 46:6,9-10).
Ezekiel 46:1-3 Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened. 2 And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening. 3 Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the LORD in the sabbaths and in the new moons. (KJV)
The sacrifice of the New Moon is in fact greater than that of the Sabbath (Ezek. 46:4,6). There is no distinction made between the New Moon and the weekly Sabbath. Both days are holy and no trading is permitted on either day.
Amos 8:5 Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? (KJV)
The Shabbathown are listed in Leviticus 23. The Day of Atonement is a Shabbath Shabbathown which emphasises its holiness (see SHD 7677). No collection can be taken up on the Day of Atonement – it is expressly forbidden (Ex. 30:15; see the papers Atonement (No. 138), Ingathering (No. 139) and also God’s Calendar (No. 156)).
The legislation covering the Wave Sheaf is contained in Leviticus 23 (see the paper The Wave Sheaf Offering (No. 106b)). The New Moons are not mentioned there; however, they appear in Numbers 10:10 where they are mentioned with the Feasts. The use of Numbers is important as this text relates to the order of march and the battle stations of the people of Israel. The New Moons and the Feasts serve as markers for the elect in their relationship with God and are direct extensions of the Fourth Commandment. The Church of God has kept the New Moons with the Feasts and Sabbaths up until the nineteenth century (Col. 2:16; see the paper The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170)).
The significance of the sacrifices in regard to the New Moons relates to the Church and the Councils of Israel. Unless the New Moons are kept, it is impossible to understand God’s Calendar (see the paper God’s Calendar (No. 156)). The modern Jewish calendar is not a correct calendar and is inhibitive of the restoration. Until God’s Calendar is restored, the Feasts and the New Moons cannot be held correctly, and thus the restoration is delayed. Only by restoring the New Moons can the Calendar and hence the Feasts be kept and understood.
The Jewish calendar has been defended by some quite extraordinary rationalisation. The reasoning in defence of the Hillel II calendar of 358 CE is generally faulty. Also the reasoning behind the crucifixion of Messiah is affected and misapprehends both the year involved and the understanding of the prophecies regarding the seventy weeks of years and the Sign of Jonah (see also the papers The Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159) and The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13)).