For the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ

Pentecost

Pentecost – receiving the presence of God


Pentecost - yahooThe Feast of Pentecost was 50 days after Passover and it ushered in the birth of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ when the Holy Spirit fell upon the believers that were present that day as they had been commanded to do by the Lord Jesus.  Biblical tradition cites that this feast is called by the Jews, Shauvott.  The feast of Pentecost is a Greek word indicating that there are 50 days from the time of the Feast of Weeks and Pentecost. The Scriptures clearly state in

Acts 2:1-4

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 like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

After this initial outpouring at Pentecost, we as Christians no longer have to wait the 50 days that the Lord Jesus prescribed for His disciples.  This was just an initial waiting period until the promise of the Father was to come down from Heaven, namely the Holy Spirit.  The Lord Jesus knew that for His disciples to stand firm in the face of opposition, that they would need the infilling of the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is no less true today as Christians are facing hostile situations across the globe.  It is this abiding and ever-present presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords that keeps the Christian from wavering in their faith.

Many Christians sometimes still mistakenly believe that they have to wait for the Holy Spirit to come to them.  However, when you believe that God has raised up His Son from the grave and you believe in your heart and you confess this with your mouth, the Holy Spirit immediately comes to indwell your spirit and you once again are open to hearing from God as He speaks to your spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit that is the conduit for this verbal transaction from God to creature.  After the Holy Spirit comes to indwell with His presence, you have now experienced being ‘born again.’  This process of being ‘born again’ is necessary because the first couple, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God and they lost the presence of the Holy Spirit and they died that very day.  They didn’t die physically, but they died spiritually and this is why we needed a Savior to pay for our sins.  This is why God was going to send the promise. What was this promise?  The promise was the Holy Spirit once again coming to dwell with mankind; to those who choose to believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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:

Exodus 13:21

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.

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 you will experience the new birth for yourself.

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Did Pentecost really happen in the upper room? – Part 2


In Part 1 of this series, time markers located in the Scriptural text gives the student clues as to time, place and location that can be extremely helpful when exegeting the Word of God.  So continuing on, we need to also further note, as found in the text, there is another time marker that places them in the Temple precincts too:

Acts 2:6

Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

Acts 2:14-15

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:  For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

Here is the most convincing time-marker, the acknowledgement that it was the ‘third hour of the day.’ Why? The faithful Jewish person worshipped according to the pre-set watches set up throughout the day. There were four watches during the day time and four watches at night. The third hour of the day corresponds to one of these watches and people who lived in Jerusalem would be in the Temple praying at 9 a.m. This is why Peter (notice that he has to rise up) stands up with the eleven to address the crowds that have run into the location where the 120 have just experienced the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Peter unequivocally states that the people are not drunk with wine as some of the people suspected, especially since they heard them speaking with other tongues and knew that they were Galileans.

The miracle of Pentecost was that Jews who had come into Israel from other parts of the world (the Scriptures list seventeen different nations), heard the disciples speaking praises to God and His wonderful works in their own languages.

Acts 2:8-13

And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.  And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

Seventeen different nations heard the disciples speaking in their own languages, and of these seventeen nations, they were comprised of both Jews and proselytes. The fact that the Scriptures mention proselytes tells us that these were gentiles who had adopted the faith of the Jews. But let us further look at the text, there were ‘others’ who began to mock and say that these people were merely drunk with wine. These ‘others’ most likely did not hear the disciples speak in other languages, but only heard them ‘babbling gibberish’ which caused them to mock them and declare that they were drunkards. Perhaps those that heard them speak in verified other tongues were devout believers with faithful hearts towards their God and those that only heard them babbling gibberish had cynical hearts. We can find textual evidence to establish this precedent in that when God speaks not everyone discerns His voice:

John 12:28-29

Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.

It is a fact that after the Lord’s crucifixion, His disciples were hiding for fear of their lives. However, after the Lord Jesus rose from the dead and assured His disciples that He was alive forevermore, they began to regain some sense of purpose for their lives. When they began to perceive that their lives could once again commence, they also at this time began venturing outside their hiding places. This is another plausible reason why the disciples were at the Temple praying at the prescribed times.

Now after they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they each were now filled with a new-found boldness with the sudden realization of the spiritual power and authority that had been conferred upon them. So we see this in:

Acts 2:14-18

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

This new-found display of boldness should be in the line-up when considering the types of miracles that took place that morning. Here for the most part, were unschooled fishermen, farmers and other tradespeople that were now able to stand up to the educated elite and hold their own so to speak. This is why those elite stood puzzled and then asked the question, “Are these not all Galileans?” Since Galilee was in the northern most part of Israel and it was sequestered due to the land of Samaria situated between them and the lower part of Israel, they were often looked upon as being uneducated country bumpkins.

As a last note as it were, the Scriptures do not give us a geographical placement for the location of the upper room. However, the Lord Jesus often resorted and rested either in Bethany or the Mt. of Olives, two of His favorite places. This is another reason that the initial Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit was probably not received in either of these two places. Simply put, Bethany was almost two miles from Jerusalem and the Mt. of Olives was approximately one half mile from the city. When they were hiding in fear, the Mt. of Olives would have been too close for comfort so to speak. Bethany was a little further away but this is also where Lazarus, Mary and Martha lived. Lazarus had been the Lord’s close friend as well as his sisters and so since the Jews knew of the close relationship that existed between the Lord and Lazarus’ family, it is not likely that His disciples would be hiding out in the upstairs room of their home. This would have been the first place that would have been searched.

So as a diligent student of the Word of God, we are commanded to ‘rightly divide the Word of God.’ In doing so it is paramount that we lay down our preconceived ideas and traditions, even if we received them in the confines of a church. We must be willing to search out the Scriptures even as the Bereans were wont to do and so must we be willing to take a new fresh look, and gain a new perspective, returning to the Truth of the Scriptures and no longer relying upon the traditions of mankind. Tradition can be wonderful, but when it comes to the Word of God (and tradition attempts to circumvent Truth), the diligent student of the Scriptures must part ways and remain true to the straight and narrow path that the Lord Jesus commanded us to walk on as we engage the manifested Kingdom of Heaven that is available right now.

1 Peter 1:21

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

 


Did Pentecost really happen in the upper room? – Part 1


Pentecostal outpouring - by Cristianity Today

In my last article The Biblical imagery of Pentecost, the imagery of the powerful display of wind and fire was examined in some detail.  The place where the initial Pentecost experience happened will be the focus in this article.

This would be a proper place to interject a potential challenge to the traditional place where the advent of Pentecost happened. Tradition cites that it happened in the upper room, however, there were 120 people present. Most Jewish homes in that day weren’t equipped to accommodate that many people at one time, and the Scriptures do not attest necessarily to this fact either.

Acts 1:13-14

And when they had come in, they went up into an upper room where abode both Peter and James, and John and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the brother of James.

These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren.

If we look at the line up of who is living in this upper room, it is the eleven disciples who are all males. In examining the textual evidence, v. 14 states ‘These all continued…’, the words ‘these all’ in this verse refer to the preceding mention of the eleven disciples who were living in the upper room.  The women who had followed the Lord Jesus’ ministry and His Mother and His biological brethren are listed but not necessarily were they living there.  But it should be noted that it says nothing of an additional 90-100 people being jam-packed in this room. It is the last verse that mentions their continual habit of being in prayer and supplication, and while the faithful Jewish person also prayed in their own homes, let us look at the next verse.

Acts 1:15

And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (the number of names altogether were about a hundred and twenty) and said…

Verse 14 is a transitional verse to indicate a separation of time and place. Authors, old and new use literary devices such as time compression to avoid boring their readers and the Biblical writers have done no less. Verse 15 opens with ‘…in those days…’ which is a clear time-marker that sometime during those 10 days, Peter stood up to address the 120 disciples so that they could choose a replacement for Judas Iscariot. So here is where the 120 disciples make their debut into the text.

But the most likely location for this speech is probably on one of the porches that surrounded the Temple in Jerusalem.  One of the public porches would have been an excellent location because women, children and gentiles alike could congregate there in freedom. If Jewish women wished to go inside and pray, they were limited to only being allowed in the women’s section. Jewish men could proceed further into the section where the non-Levitical men were allowed, but gentiles were only allowed in the court set aside for their specific purposes. We need to remember that because women were present with the men too, their needs were being considered.  While the Lord Jesus allowed women to travel with Him and be His disciples too, the rest of the world was still functioning with the repressive idea that women should be occasionally seen and barely heard.  This explains the Lord Jesus’ penchant for teaching outside the Temple, simply due to all of the ritualistic restrictions in place that limited people from approaching near to their God.

With this information in mind, one of the porches (probably Solomon’s) was probably where Pentecost happened. It is highly unlikely that after such a spectacular event (if they truly were in the upper room), that they would have then left the room to noise it abroad.  When the presence of God manifests, human flesh cannot stand under the weight of His Glory, and people generally remain bowed, with their faces towards the ground.  Textual evidence for this can be found in:

2 Chronicles 7:1-3

Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.  And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.  And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Revelation 1:16-17

And He had in His right hand seven stars, and out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword, and His countenance shone as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, “Fear not; I am the First and the Last.

However, if indeed they were gathered together and praying on one of the porches (as this writer is positing), they were witnesses as the Holy Spirit began to descend in such awesome magnificence.  They beheld God as He began birthing the New Testament church in a public venue. It would not have taken long for the other people on or around the porch who were watching this event, for them to begin shouting it out to everyone else.  Word of this colossal event quickly spread throughout the Temple precincts and people began rushing in to see what was happening.

We will continue this study in Part 2.  God Bless.

 


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.

Joel 2:28-29

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.

Acts 1:8

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.

Acts 2:1-4

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:

Exodus 13:21

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:

Luke 8:24

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!


Pentecost Sunday – an empowerment for today’s Christian


 

Pentecost Sunday 2012 will be on May 27th this year.  Biblical tradition cites that this feast is called by the Jews, Shauvott.  The feast of Pentecost is a Greek word indicating that there are 50 days from the time of the Feast of Weeks and Pentecost.  Pentecost is associated with the birth of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the disciples of the Lord Jesus began to speak with other tongues.  This enduement of power from on high upon the Lord’s disciples is that which allowed those from other countries the ability to understand what was happening.

This powerful event is what empowered the disciples to be full of zeal and exude this new power from on high, giving them a boldness to confront those that opposed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit came in with a huge sound of wind that filled the place where they were and the disciples of the Lord also manifested tongues of fire that were leaping upon their heads.

This year there is a global initiative being conducted whose goal is to teach and preach about the Holy Spirit so that everyone will be educated on this topic by the year 2033.  This initiative is called Empowered21.  Strange as it may be, few Pentecostal churches celebrate the day of Pentecost.

Empowered21 is seeking to change the fact that only the mainline churches celebrate Pentecost by reaching out globally to the Pentecostal denomination.  Some of the following are their objectives that they are hoping to fully achieve by the year 2033.

  • To Unite the Global Spirit-filled movement together intergenerationally for the purpose of seeking a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the 21st Century
  • To Focus the energy and resources of the Spirit-empowered global church on the harvest and challenges before us
  • To Provide a platform for addressing the crucial issues facing the 21st Century Spirit-empowered church
  • To Discover contemporary methods, vocabulary, spiritual grace and relational favor needed for engaging every generation in Spirit-empowered living
  • To Witness greater convergence and collaboration of Spirit-empowered ministries around the World

If you are a pastor, hopefully you will be planning your worship services around the celebration of Pentecost.  If you are not already involved with Empowered21, this would be a good time to check out the events that they are planning.