Summary: Pentecost explained as a festival celebration pointing to the time of the Spirit’s coming to empower believers to bring forth a harvest of souls.
A DAY OF PRAYER PRAISE AND PROCLAMATION
Probably most of you realize that in our church calendar year this is what is known as PENTECOST Sunday.
And of course the prefix “pente” has something to do with the number “5” as in our word “pentagon” (something with five sides.) The day of Pentecost in the Jewish calendar represents 50 days after the Feast of Unleavened Bread or Passover. It was celebrated 7 weeks after the first day of Passover, so 7 weeks of 7 days = 49 + the actual day of Passover makes it the 50th day. Sometimes it was also called the Feast of Weeks.
Whenever the Bible mentions “7” it has this idea of completion….(God’s creation in 7 days, the man healed of a disease after dipping 7 times into the Jordan, 7 good years and 7 years of famine, etc.) The Talmud, or Jewish Holy book, calls it “the Conclusion.” When I saw this aspect, I became even more intrigued.
In Exodus 23:14-16 God told Moses to celebrate three annual feasts. Passover, then a Festival of Firstfruits…..
Isn’t this interesting….. since the Bible tells us that Christ is the Firstfruit of the dead. (I Cor 15:20-22) And in James 1:18 it says that He chose to give US birth through the word of truth so that WE might be a kind of firstfruits.
We know that Passover was an early sign that Christ would be the REAL lamb whose blood was spread on a crossbeam , and now the celebration of Firstfruits was pointing to His resurrection from the dead and His making a way so that we also could rise.
Then I read in my book on Jewish traditions that another name for this same celebration was the Feast of Harvest when they traditionally brought some of their first grain harvest or some flour or bread to give to the High Priest.
Look at the New Testament parallel now!
Jesus, the True Bread of Heaven, who was broken for us, had just ascended to heaven to present Himself to the Father and become our Great High Priest.
This day…. now known as Pentecost, was associated with the same time in the Jewish calendar year that Moses was given the ten commandments on Mt Sinai.
The plan had now completely unfolded …. look….
On Mount Sinai God gave the Law….then on Mount Calvary Christ paid the penalty and fulfilled the Law……and on the Mount of Olives He ascended and FREED us from the law of sin and death!
The Spirit now comes down to usher in the age of Grace.
We see “the conclusion” of God’s hidden plan on the day of Pentecost!!!
Remember that Jesus told his disciples and followers right before he ascended that they were to wait in Jerusalem and He would send the Comforter to them. So they were all there, “in one accord” agreeing together in prayer, and there came a sound from heaven like the blowing of a violent wind. Then they saw what looked like “tongues of fire” (some versions use the term “cloven” and we know that means “split” like a hoof or in the same way we draw flames with separate peaks at the top,) and this flame shape seemed to come to rest on everyone’s tongue.
At that point they began to speak in other tongues, or languages they had not learned, but spoke by the Spirit’s enabling. They were experiencing a spiritual “high”or ecstasy and quite naturally, a crowd gathered.
The people were “bewildered amazed and perplexed.” They asked each other, “What does this mean?
This is still pretty much what happens today if anyone speaks in tongues in the modern day church. People are divided in their opinions as to the origin, or necessity or validity of this manifestation of the spirit.
Tongues ARE divisive, but as David Duplesis said, “That’s why the Lord created different languages to begin with!” Remember back in Genesis chapter 12 when the people decided to get together and build a tower that would reach to heaven? And God said if the people unite like this they can do anything they imagine! So he confused their language at that time and the Tower of Babel could not be built because of it. They were planning to build THEMSELVES a name, and God will have no other name exalted but His own. Man cannot build a tower that will reach God, but God Himself came down as the bridge to reach man.
So the people on the day of Pentecost were divided.
Those who understood what was being said in their own language by men who ordinarily would not have known it, said, “They are praising God.”
But those who did not understand and were only looking at the outward actions of ecstasy, said, “They are drunk.”