(Acts 19:1-2) While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
Part 2 – The Meaning of Pentecost
Probably the most misunderstood event in the Church today is Pentecost. For whatever reason, the terms Pentecost or Pentecostal will get some strange looks inside or outside the Church. Questions arise about hanging from chandeliers, jumping pews, or playing with snakes.
As I shared in the previous post, I experienced a Pentecostal event at a young age, and I can honestly say I have never hung from a chandelier or purposely sought the company of a snake.
Even though I did not understand the biblical truth to His significance, the Holy Spirit was a real experience for me. It was God showing me His relevance even though I had little biblical knowledge. I am grateful He did because I would not have become a Christian without His involvement.
Pentecost is a Jewish holiday. It is one of the three main Jewish feasts as explained by the Old Testament. These are:
- Passover – celebrates Hebrews leaving Egypt
- Pentecost – simply means fifty days after Passover.
- Tabernacles – During the Harvest
And as we will see, Jesus did not do away with any of these feasts.
The Jewish Holidays Fulfilled
Matthew 5:17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Anyone who has read Exodus or saw the movie The Ten Commandments might understand the Passover feast. It celebrates when the death angel sent by God “passed over” the firstborn of the home whose doorposts were painted with lamb’s blood. You might also know that Jesus was crucified during the Passover Feast. The parallels of both events are amazing:
- Celebrates Hebrews leaving Egypt by sacrificing a lamb
- Passover lamb sacrificed at 9 a.m.
- Passover lamb put in the oven at 3 p.m.
Passover lamb sacrifice covered their sins.
- Correlates with Good Friday and Jesus, The Lamb of God
- Jesus was sacrificed (nailed to the cross) at 9 a.m.
- Jesus put into the tomb at 3 p.m.
Jesus’ sacrifice removed our sins.
1 Corinthians 5:7 For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
It is through Jesus, The Passover Lamb; we receive Salvation.
Pentecost (Pente = 5; cost(e) = to the 10th or 5 x 10 = 50)
Many people are a little uncomfortable when they hear the word, Pentecost. That’s because they have heard or witnessed something weird or scary in association to the event. This confusion goes back to the careless branding of the Holy Spirit by many churches.
The word simply means fifty, relating to the number of days after Passover. It is not meant to be weird or scary and shouldn’t be. Again, the correlations from Old to New Testament relating to Pentecost are phenomenal.
Old Testament (Exodus 20)
- Cloud descended with loud noise and fire
- God wrote His Law on tablets of stone
- Golden calf – 3000 lives lost.
New Testament (Acts 2)
- The Holy Spirit descended with loud sound and fire
- God wrote His Law on our hearts
- 3000 people saved
In Acts 1: 3-8, Jesus presented himself as a risen savior. He walked, talked, and dined with several people and explained He would send the Holy Spirit to them in Jerusalem. He also explained the marvels of this event which they would soon experience. He foretold the power they would receive and what they would do with it. (Acts 1:8)
It is through the Holy Spirit we receive the power to make a difference!
Tabernacles (Portable Homes or Tents)
The Feast of Tabernacles is a remembrance of the Jews time in the wilderness. A time where they lived in temporary homes before finally entering the Promised Land.
Here are the correlations between Old and New Testaments. The difference here is our Promised Land has yet to be realized, but the harvest is in full force.
- Wandering and living in temporary huts
- Brought to their home (promise land)
- Celebrated during the harvest season
- We are living on this earth as Wanderers
- We are destined to our final home in heaven
- There will be a great harvest beforehand
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 Paul explains how Jesus will come back from heaven to claim His Church. It will be the day of all days when we will be with Him forever.
Tabernacles is a foreshadow of the Second Coming of Christ
The Meaning of Pentecost
(Acts 2:12) Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
I know for most of us we had a hard time grasping the true work of the Holy Spirit. We either totally disregarded its relevance for today, or we made Him into some magic trick or weird display. But in reality God wants to use the Holy Spirit to empower us in three ways:
- To live righteously. He wants righteousness to be something we want to do, not have to do.
(Romans 8:9) You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.
(Isaiah 30:21) Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
- The Holy Spirit empowers me to live supernaturally. He wants me to depend on Him to accomplish things which are bigger than myself.
(Acts 10:38 NLT) And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
(1 Corinthians 2:4-5) My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
- The Holy Spirit empowers me to live on mission.
1 Thessalonians 1:5 Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.
The Holy Spirit is available to anyone and everyone. It is not reserved for the special clergy or the best behaved. It empowers us to be Christlike! The best comment I have heard concerning the Holy Spirit is:
“Being filled with the Holy Spirit doesn’t make me better than you, it makes me better than me.” ~ Chris Hodges