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
Scripture texts: Acts 2:1-21 I Cor 12:3-13 John 7: 37-39
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.