Sunday, June 12, 2011

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DAY OF PENTECOST Written by: Brock & Bodie Thoene on Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bodie and Brock Thoene

Happy Pentecost Sunday! Let’s read the account of that miraculous event together:

Acts 2:1-11
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”

Today is the day the Church celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit; commemorating the anniversary of an event that took place some 2000 years ago.

Pentecost is often referred to as ‘the birthday of the Church.’ It is the day of which the Risen Lord spoke when He gave this instruction to His followers:   

“He said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.’
        Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.
And he said to them, ‘Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And (behold) I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city (Jerusalem) until you are clothed with power from on high.’ "(Luke 24:44-49)

But Pentecost did not appear out of nowhere; without a context in which to place it.

Pentecost (Greek for ‘50’) is the same holiday as the Jewish Feast of Weeks or ‘Shavuot.’ It falls 50 days after the celebration of Passover and has always been a time of thanksgiving. (See Deuteronomy 16:9-12 and Leviticus 23:15-21) Shavuot was one of three feasts in the Hebrew calendar in which worshippers were obligated to go up to Jerusalem to worship: the Feast of Tabernacles in the autumn, then both the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) AND the Feast of Shavuot, also known as Pentecost; the Feast of Weeks. (Deuteronomy 16:16)

Pentecost is significant because it commemorates the giving of God’s Law to Moses on Mount Sinai.

The arrival of the Holy Spirit ‘like tongues of fire’ on Pentecost should also evoke another image of a fire that burns but does not consume:

        “Meanwhile Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush. As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. So Moses decided, ‘I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.’ When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely, God called out to him from the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’ God said, ‘Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your father,’ he continued, ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.’ Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (Exodus 3:1-6)

So the Spirit of God was manifested in a form like flames even before the Day of Pentecost.

But perhaps more than anything else, Pentecost represents a coming full circle of human history to an event that happened so far in the past we do not even know how to date it properly:

Genesis 11:1-9
“The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words.
While the people were migrating in the east,
they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.
They said to one another,
‘Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire.’
They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar.
Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city
and a tower with its top in the sky,
and so make a name for ourselves;
otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.’

The LORD came down to see the city and the tower
that the people had built.
Then the LORD said: ‘If now, while they are one people,
all speaking the same language,
they have started to do this,
nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do.
Let us then go down there and confuse their language,
so that one will not understand what another says.’
Thus the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth,
and they stopped building the city.
That is why it was called Babel,
because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world.
It was from that place that he scattered them all over the earth.

Do you see the connection? The last time that all humankind had a common language was when men, in presumption and arrogance, decided to form a one-world government without God as its ruler, with its capital at Babel. (Do you hear echoes of a resurgent Babylon that will rise in opposition to God in the Last Days? Of course you do; but that’s a study for another day!)

The arrival of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was God’s reply to the pride of Babel—All the world’s peoples can hear a universal language…encounter the Good News of the Gospel, each in his or her own language…ONLY by the power and intervention of the Holy Spirit. The Ruach haKodesh speaks the heavenly language into the heart of man…only if we will take the time to listen.

It is the Holy Spirit, the Third Member of the Trinity, of Whom the Church teaches in her ancient creed: “We believe in the Holy Spirit; the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and Son He is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets.”

It is the Holy Spirit Who makes possible the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to His followers (which includes us!)

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

Greater things than the works Jesus performed? What can that possibly mean?

Jesus commissioned us to: “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)

And here is the message of that Gospel…the Good News…as expounded by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians:

“As it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him’  ---these things God has revealed to us THROUGH THE SPIRIT. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God…”(I Corinthians 2:9-10)


The theme song of our lives is to be this: ‘Eye has not seen. Ear has not heard. What God has ready for those who love Him. Spirit of love, come give us the mind of Jesus. Teach us the wisdom of God.’

Our Commission…to carry the overwhelming love of God to a hurting world…is the greater work we are commanded by Jesus to perform, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to complete. We are sent into all the world to tell everyone—‘There will never be peace in the world….or in your heart….without the presence of God and the saving power of Jesus in your life!’

Listen! The Holy Spirit is speaking to YOUR heart right now!
Blessings in the Name of Yeshua Messiah!
Bodie and Brock

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