“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Acts 2:1
Pentecost will be celebrated on Sunday May 20th 2018 (and these dates in the future).
Most folks are familiar with the word Pentecost and the event in the New Testament which it represents. It was on this day a little over 2000 years ago that the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and they all spoke in tongues. It is the day that marked the birth of the Christian church.
But several thousand years before that, God introduced Shavuot to His people (Exodus 23:16). Shavuot was a memorial to be observed exactly 50 days (or 7 weeks plus a day) from the Jewish Feast of Firstfruits – which was the tithe (bikkurim) and regard to God for the spring harvest, which took place right after Passover/Unleavened Bread. In Jewish history, it marks the day that the Torah was given to the children of Israel on Mount Sinai and is celebrated today by the reading of the book of Ruth, as well as dressing in white robes, and holding baptisms.
The word “Pentecost” means fiftieth. Originally, on this blessing-of-the-summer-harvest or pilgrim “feast of weeks,” the people were to bring out of their habitations two loaves of bread, and unlike the feasts before it, this time the bread was baked WITH leaven. The loaves were to be of the same weight and was therefore called the Counting of the Omer (a dry measure or sheaf of grain).
Firstfruits and Shavuot are both grain harvests. Firstfruits is a harvest of barley, and is the setting for the story in the Book of Ruth where Boaz harvests his fields and leaves behind a little for the gleaners (the poor who lived in the land). Ruth came to glean in order to provide food for herself and Naomi, her mother-in-law, who had both been away in another country until the death of their husbands forced them to come back home. Boaz was Naomi’s close relative, and therefore Boaz honored a Hebrew obligation to redeem the land for his cousin/close friend who died and left no living male descendents to carry on his name. Out of respect for Naomi, Boaz graciously married Ruth (who was not Jewish) and the two had a son, Obed (who was king David’s grandfather and is listed in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:5), giving him a share of Boaz’s wealth and an inheritance in the land (and in the kingdom to come). Boaz became the kinsman redeemer, and his valor is a gorgeous picture of hospitality.
Shavuot is the firstfruits offering of the wheat harvest, waved to the Lord to honor and thank God for His provision. The leaven in the flour of those loaves was covered by bread that had risen, the leaven therefore was no longer visible. The summer wheat harvest was always a bigger harvest than the spring barley harvest, but a mere drop in the bucket compared to the fall (fruit) harvest.
Copy and Shadow of things to Come
Once again, Jesus is the fulfillment of these beautiful Jewish feasts. He is our “Bread of life.” He has covered our “sin” (leaven) by his body that was sacrificed and now is risen.
He is our Kinsmen Redeemer because He has graciously married us, who are not Jewish, and given us a new life and an inheritance in the kingdom to come, grafting us in and making us part of the family of God by His redeeming blood.
The Torah brought the Law of God to His people ~ and ~ The Word/Logos-of-God brought the Spirit to His people
It is to our advantage that Jesus ascended into heaven after redeeming us, for if Jesus had not gone, the Holy Spirit could not have come (John 16:7). We all needed the Holy Spirit to come, for so many reasons, including…
We would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon us (Acts 1:8)
He would teach us and guide us, and help us to be discerners of truth
He would empart to us Spiritual gifts that would enable us to do the will of God
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is the heart of Pentecost. Like the other feasts, Pentecost has a first observance, followed by a middle ritual observance part, and finally a fulfillment, both on earth and in God’s kingdom to come. The Jewish Feasts were and are a copy and shadow of things to come. Jesus, before He ascended into heaven (BTW: on the very day of Firstfruits, as the wave offering to God of the harvest of souls to come), instructed his disciples to…
“tarry in the city until they were endued with power from on high” — Luke 24:49
It was an event He had been preparing them for since before He went to the cross, and one He reminded them of again after His resurrection, during the 40 days of His appearances before His ascension. He told them He would be leaving and that it was to their advantage that He go, for if He didn’t go the Holy Spirit would not come (John 16:7).
He encouraged them that the Holy Spirit would stay with them and help them (John 14:16). The Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin (John 16:8). He would guide them, and relay to them whatever He heard from the Father (John 16:13). He would tell them of things to come (John 16:13), remind them of the scriptures that they had read and heard, and give them power to heal and to preach ( Luke 4:18; 1 Cor. 12:9). All very vital things for a people who’s Savior was traveling on to His throne and would be out of sight until His promised return. It was a token of assurance for them, as He is for us, that our Lord will keep His promise to come back for us (2 Cor. 1:22).
There is a LOT of philosophy out there about the Holy Spirit. The New Testament church has been divided and subdivided over this issue of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. This very country that I live in today was birthed out of such divisions. There are scholars with waaaaaaaaay more credentials than lowly little me to debate the issue, but the one thing they, and I, and we all have in common as the basis for our beliefs are the eye witness testimonies of the men and women who were actually there when the event occured. Some of Jesus last words to His Apostles were, “You are witnesses of these things.” And that is something no one else on the planet can boast. It makes the word of God, the Bible, an extremely valuable document. And if anyone wants to know about the Holy Spirit of God all we have to do is seek Him in the scriptures. Study the scriptures and you will find Him! The scriptures are in fact the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 2:15) and they are intricately woven.
In the closing chapter of Luke Jesus said,
“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.”
I have prayed that I may rightly divide this word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), and scripture always teaches scripture. So, I am convinced that Jesus wanted His disciples to go and wait in the city, to stay in the city, to NOT LEAVE THE CITY of Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came to them, because of the confirmation of Acts 1:4 – just in case they had other ideas, since Jesus had just told them in Luke 24:47 that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. He didn’t want them to go off on a missions adventure just yet, and certainly not without the company of the Holy Ghost.
No question the disciples were saved. No question their lives were totally changed when Jesus came into their lives. But their calling, their ministry was not complete without the Holy Spirit, without the fullness of God, because they had His work to do.
“The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:17
In John 20:22 it says Jesus breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” possibly prophesying how the Holy Spirit would come to them – in a breath or wind from heaven, and demonstrating that it is He who gives us the ability to receive the Holy Spirit.
“And the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostsrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
“Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:5-8
So where did the disciples go after their Messiah had ascended to heaven and disappeared out of their sight? They obeyed their Lord, and went to the city, as Jesus had instructed, “and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God” Luke 24:53. And they were in the upper room all together in fellowship, with one accord in prayer and supplication, all eleven disciples and the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers (Acts 1:12-14). While they were there clinging to Jesus in prayer and biding the time with each other, they chose a replacement for Judas. They obeyed Jesus directions and trusted His order and His timing.
As Fish Drawn Up in a Net
I wonder what draws you to this post today? Are you searching for the Baptism of the Holy Ghost? Are you here reading this today because you are at a place in your new spiritual walk with Jesus where you have experienced His passover (saving blood) and unleavened bread (cleansing), you’ve communed with Him as Savior, and experienced His breath of new life – been baptised in water for the remission of sins. You know that your soul is among His firstfruits offering, but reading in John and Acts you feel as if you lack the power and courage to truly love as the Bible tells us to love (1 Corinthians 13)?
Are you reading about the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, and know that you don’t always have those qualities or virtues evident in you?
Are you reading about Spiritual Gifts in Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 12, and haven’t a clue what yours are, much less the ability to fan them into flame (2 Timothy 1:6)?
Are you timid and fearful to share your faith?
Do you always seem to be under attack by the enemy, unable to fight him off or get your head above the flood of your struggles? Is your Spiritual Armor laying on the pages of your Bible instead of covering your body?
Are you reading in your Bible of people who over and over again received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, and you don’t speak in tongues? You neither speak in a foreign language that others can understand, nor a prayer language that only God understands?
These are the very things that drew me to seek the truth of the Holy Spirit, the baptism, the indwelling, the empowering Holy Spirit in the scriptures. The Feast of Pentecost!
And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Acts 8:18-23
What is my motive? To be better than others? To be held in high regard? Are my motives poisoned by jealousy? Is there bitterness or iniquity in my heart?
Honestly, in my quest to know the Holy Spirit of God – the truth, I have found many imposters, or maybe not necessarily imposters, but seekers like myself who were blown to and fro by every wind of doctrine, and tossed by every tempest. It has been the blind leading the blind in many cases. Some also may have pretended to be filled with the Holy Spirit just to fit in with all the craziness sweeping through. There are tongues of men and tongues of angels (even dark angels). Tongues can be faked. False teachers abound. There are tares among the wheat!
I am not called to judge, or pluck up what I think are weeds. We are to be patient with those weaker in faith, as our Father is patient with us.
But I am convinced the scriptures will lead us to the truth, if we search for it with all of our hearts. And I believe the Holy Spirit is not gotten by any other means than that Jesus give Him to us, and that Jesus gives Him to us for for His own good purpose (not ours): to enable us to hear His voice and fulfill the gifts and calling He has placed on our lives, to be fruitful to take the good news of Christ’s love to the world, to be equipped for ministry (Eph. 4:12-16), and to be able to have those private conversations with Him that nobody else can understand or evesdrop on, especially Satan. And I believe it isn’t something we have to fear will be weird or scary – just like our Salvation wasn’t weird or scarry, but glorious. I believe the Holy Spirit is poured into us to be poured out of us, and that we have a constant need of refilling, or of fanning into flame, when we feel empty, weary, or lost.
Our Father desires to give us good gifts, and if we ask for the Holy Spirit out of right motive I am confident He will give Him to us (Luke 11:11-13) and that the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in us (Gal.5:22-23).
I believe in order to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit we must love God from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5), and be willing to do God’s will, and follow God’s instructions, and not quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19) who leads us. (*Quenching the Spirit is, I believe, to withhold love by suppressing conviction, prohibiting manifestation, or snuffing out a Holy fire that is kindled in our hearts). Like the parable of the rich young ruler who tells Jesus he has done everything that is required, but is there anything else that he must do, and Jesus tells him to sell everything he has and give it to the poor, and come follow Him. If we are like this young pharisee and desire to keep anything back, we will never receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 14:25-33; Luke 18:18-22). We must be empty of our own will, because the Holy Spirit will sometimes lead us where we do not wish to go (John 21:18). The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Could it be that we must cling to Jesus like the apostles did – in the church, continually praising and blessing God! …and in one accord with the brethren in prayer and supplication? The word of God says, if we seek Him we will find Him, when we search for Him with all of our heart (Jeremiah 29:13)! It says that where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is amongst us (Matthew 18:20). “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 18:19.
So, the discpiles waited in the city, but the use of the word “Tarry” is even more incredible than that…
The word “tarry” captured my imagination when I studied this scripture. So I pulled my Complete Word Study of the New Testament book off the shelf and researched the word tarry in Luke 24:49. When I did I found that the Greek word translated tarry in this one place in the scriptures is kathizo (Strongs 2523) and next to it is a tiny grammatical code “aim.” It is an abbreviation of the words aorist imperative, which indicates that this was a simple action to be done in the future, not “pim,” which is present imperative, and would have commanded a continuous or repetitive action.
This is another one of those instances when the Bible proves to be parable-like, with special things hidden away in it that the Lord only shares with those who seek Him. Why does the Holy Spirit prompt us to be curious about the words in scripture? Because the jots and tittles in scripture are important, so much so that not one of them shall pass away until they are fulfilled. Words mean things. Jesus’ choice of words is important. I’m so grateful that I had the time to obey the Spirit’s prompting and study this out, because there was treasure hidden.
I looked up the word kathizo and found that it means to sit, to set down, to seat down, to dwell. It is never used however when the action is to rest, but refers rather to a person taking a special seat of importance, one reserved for important tasks, like a judge sits at his bench in a courtroom to hear a case, or a king on his throne to govern his kingdom, or a preacher in his pulpit to preach to his congregation, or a watchman at his post to guard the city. It isn’t about taking a load off; it’s about taking the captain’s chair in the control tower. Literally the scripture could be read, “…but sit (take your place) in the city…until you are endued…”
Isn’t that interesting? Well, I hope YOU’RE sitting down, because I have something pretty exciting to share and I can hardly wait for you to see it. Please turn to Acts 2:2 and fill in the blank below to find out what the disciples were doing when the Holy Spirit arrived:
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as a rushing might wind, and it filled the whole house where they were ________________.”
What a beautiful mystery!
Jesus told His disciples to literally go sit in Jerusalem in the special place, and when the time had fully come for the Holy Spirit to arrive, here He came, first with a voice in that mighty rushing wind, as if the Lord were whispering from His throne in heaven: Are you sitting? Here it comes! It honestly gives me goosebumps to think of it…
Twelve Apostles SITTING, as on thrones – like the elders sitting on thrones around God’s throne – Revelation 4:4. Kings and Priests. A copy and shadow of things to come!!!!
And just in case that isn’t awesome enough, let’s finish that verse of scripture with a discerning look at the word “endued.” I always thought it meant imparted or given, but it is Strongs #1746 enduo, and it means CLOTHED – in the sense of sinking into a garment (sitting into it perhaps?); invested with clothing; arrayed… Wow!
Twelve Apostles SITTING, as on thrones, and CLOTHED in white robes, with crowns of gold on their heads – Revelation 4:4.
This scripture reveals the Holy Spirit as clothing, as an investment – as a deposit guaranteeing our redemption, as Spiritual Armor, as a robe of righteousness, as a Bride made ready!!!!
Check out these scriptures about white robes and fine linen…
“Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who would be killed as they were, was completed.” Revelation 6:11
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife and made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” Revelation 19:7-8
The Holy Spirit gave the Apostles the power to do righteous acts, which we get to read all about in the Book of Acts! A righteous act is like righteous judgment – it is an act or a judgment that knows every hidden thing. The only way for a human to know every hidden thing is to have it emparted to us by an all-knowing God. Who can know the mind of God except the Spirit! The Spirit reveals the mind of God to us and therefore the will of God.
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True…He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood... – Revelation 19:11,13
There is a dress code in heaven. This is why the person was thrown out of the wedding banquet in Matthew 22:11-14. He was a fake (Isaiah 64:6; Matthew 23:25-33) in filthy rags. He was a “tare,” who grew up among the wheat, but he doesn’t fool the King!
Oh wise virgins, seek Him while He may be found – fill your lamps with the oil that lasts until the bridegroom returns (Matthew 25:1-13) – like the oil of Hanukkah.
The apostles received power when the Holy Spirit came upon them…
Let me set the actual scene: Jewish people from every nation and language of the world were in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Weeks, and consequently they all became eye witnesses of the spectacle of its fulfillment. When the Holy Spirit gave divine utterance to Jesus’ apostles, the people there each heard the gospel of salvation being preached to them in their native language. Everyone present became witnesses of the power of Jesus in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and took the testimony back to their homes far and wide, and ultimately to the ends of the earth. And the powerful sermon that Peter bravely preached to them that day, by the power of the Holy Spirit that was newly poured into him, resulted in the salvation of 3,000 people.
3,000! This was a greater number of souls than was harvested at Jesus’ crucifixion – FIRSTFRUITS (when the graves were opened and the bodies of the saints were raised), but only a drop in the bucket to the fall harvest – Feast of Trumpets, which is yet to come. I believe 3000 is an intentional number, for it was the exact number who were killed on the day the law came down from Mount Sinai, because of the golden calf (Exodus 32:28). Second Corinthians 3:6 says, “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
The giving of the Law (and the Torah) at Mount Sinai, after the Passover, and after their baptism in the Red Sea, marked the birth of a new nation bound for their promised land… In like manner, Pentecost marked the birth of the Christian church, the adopted children of God, with the same inheritance (eternal life in God’s kingdom) as our Jewish brothers and sisters. Jew and Christian = two loaves.
Let’s recap the closing words of Peter’s famous sermon: Repent! Be baptized! Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!
“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)
The promise is the same today as it was yesterday, and last year, and last century, and that magnificent day in the ancient world.
“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matthew 10:37).
If we are born again, we are laborors for Christ. One disciple may plant the word of God into mens hearts, while another waters what was planted, but truly it is only the Lord who gives the increase and causes the seed to to live and breathe and have its being. No man comes to the Father except the Spirit draws him. If it is the Lord who gives the increase then it is foolish for us to get puffed up and take credit for anything, isn’t it?
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Paul asked of the new Ephesian disciples. “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them…” (Acts 19:2, 6)
Ask, and It shall be given to you! The Spirit cannot be purchased (Acts 8:14-24), and if you do not have Him working through you, beware (the Seven Sons of Sceva, Acts 19:11-19). But, if you are saved, and you fear the Lord, and your motives are pure, ask of the Father and He will give you the Helper to clothe you, to lead you, protect you, enable you, empower and guide you in all wisdom.
“If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” (Luke 11:11-13)
If you have asked Jesus into your heart, confessed and repented of your sins, been washed and cleansed in the blood of the Savior, been baptised (died to your old fleshly ways and been raised to new life) making confession before men, and yet feel timid to do the work of an apostle or ambassador of Christ, or you didn’t speak with new tongues, or because you don’t feel the power (boldness) that the scriptures speak of to preach or to heal, then ask my dear brother or sister, please ask.
We must do as the disciples did and spend our time in the church praising and blessing God, clinging to Jesus humbly. We must sell everything we have (the iniquity in our heart) and follow Jesus (Philippians 3:8-11). If we give God our whole hearts, Jesus will sweep us clean and put us in order (Matthew 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26) – breathe on us! But then He must also fill us with the Holy Spirit so that when those old spirits come knocking again, there will be no room inside. Without the Holy Spirit we are unable to do the will of God. We are unable to resist the devil. And we are slaves to our flesh (the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak). The Holy Spirit is given to us for our good and the good of the world.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Philippians 3:12
You and I are in the summer harvest time of God’s calendar: “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)
Let us be WISE VIRGINS and fill our lamps with the *oil that doesn’t run out (read about the history of the feast of Hanukkah or Dedication when after cleansing the temple, the priests lit the Menorah with a day’s worth of oil, but it burned (gave light) for 8 days and never went out until the rider on the horse returned). (*Oil is another symbol used for the Holy Spirit in scripture.)
And let us look forward to that great fall harvest, when the greatest body of Jews will join the church at the Second Coming of Christ (Zechariah 12:10; 13:1), the great fall (fruit) harvest when “All Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). That is when the times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled. God will bless us who have blessed her, and curse those who cursed her, and welcome us both to our inheritance. Two loaves!!!!!
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47
*This mini-Bible study is part of a study of the feasts of Israel. If you have enjoyed it you may also enjoy reading about all the other feasts in scripture: “The Lord our Passover,” “FIRSTFRUITS,” “Feast of Trumpets,” “No Man Knows the Day or the Hour…,” and “Feast of Booths.” You can find the links to these in the list of recent posts featured on the right column of this page. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I pray that you are blessed by God’s word and filled with a desire to know Him with all of your heart and share Him with a lost world.