The Biblical imagery of Pentecost
The celebration of Pentecost is held 50 days after the wave offering at the Feast of Weeks which signaled the end of the grain harvest. Pentecost also marks the birth of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophecy concerning the coming time of Pentecost can first be found in the book of Joel and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the fulfillment of this prophecy is found in the book of Acts.
And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.
But ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The fulfillment of this prophecy came when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit came upon those who were gathered together for daily prayer. They were waiting for the promise that the Lord Jesus had spoken about, but as of yet they did not know the day that it would come to pass.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
There are two predominant elements that the Holy Spirit utilized to enable those present to be able to know that He was present and was falling upon each of them, filling them with His empowerment from on High. These two elements were fire and wind. First the wind that came in was as a sound of a rushing, mighty wind. This was not the sound that a gentle southern breeze would make as it lifted a few locks upon the head. This was a pure attention-getter in that perhaps those that were walking at that moment might have stopped to listen. Those that were kneeling or sitting in prayer could very well have stopped to listen as well because this would have been a spectacular introduction. Spectacular because it was the birth of the New Testament church. Besides, God most definitely does not work out of a hole-in-the-wall.
The other element was fire. As the Holy Spirit descended and began to fill the 120 disciples that were gathered there that morning, tongues as of fire began to dance upon their heads. Most iconography depict these tongues of fire in a rather tame display, however, it is posited that this was also a spectacular showstopper as well. This writer envisions a sound like a type of “swoosh” that fire makes, especially when you pour an accelerant upon the fire. Also, that the flames would have correspondingly rushed upwards in a gigantic flame-roll, reaching upwards to heaven from whence it came.
In the Scriptures, fire is used to denote the very presence of God and it also is used to signify great power. We see this in:
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, to go by day and night.
The Lord Jesus demonstrated His power and authority over the wind and the sea in the earthly realm in:
And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
But beyond this, in the OT, the Hebrew word for ‘breath’ or ‘wind’ is ruach, which is also used to indicate spirit. In this case however, it was not just a ‘spirit’, but the Holy Spirit Himself. So what significance does the tongues of fire have for today’s Christian? While that powerful display was a one-time phenomena, the imagery of the fire, or God’s presence covering the disciples’ heads also lends itself to today’s church. In that we also as born-again children of God also are blessed with the covering of God’s presence through His Holy Spirit. The imagery of the rushing, mighty wind lends itself to the knowledge that Yeshua, the Christ still wields His power and authority over the natural earth realm as well as the heavenly, as He sits enthroned with His Father in heaven.
If you haven’t asked the Lord Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior as of yet, and you would like to Get a Life, confess Him as your Lord and Savior, and your new family will see you in church tomorrow and we will celebrate Pentecost together. God Bless!