Thursday, July 28, 2022

Celebrating Pentecost

VIDEO: How to Celebrate Pentecost 

Christians are those who are committed to Jesus as their Lord. God’s people are the nation of Israel, those who are Jewish by birth or marriage. God created a covenant, or “testament” with Israel which is the Old Testament. Christians have a New Covenant with God through Jesus. It may be labeled as “old”, but it is still relevant to our relationship with our Heavenly Father because God is always the same. Much of what Israel went through will apply to us.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

We receive correction so that we stay on the right path with God. Looking at those who walked with God before Jesus will help us know what our Father expects of us. Traditions outlined in the Old Testament will still have meaning for Christians:

And this day shall be to you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever. Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. (Exodus 12:14-15 ESV)

Israel celebrates Passover (Pesach), or the Feast of Unleavened Bread, every year. Most Christians know this as Easter, the day Jesus died. Israel was to celebrate this “forever.”

Shavuot, the Jewish feast we call Pentecost, is a holiday that commemorates the single most important event in Israel’s history: the giving of the Torah (the first five books in the Hebrew Bible) to Moses at Mount Sinai. Although Shavuot, Pentecost, is not as well-known among non-Jews as Pesach, Passover or Sukkot, the Feast of Booths, the three are major festivals in Israel known as the pilgrimage feasts.

Offer a sacrifice to Me three times each year. Keep the festival of matzot (Passover) ... the reaping festival (Shavuot) ... the harvest festival (Sukkot) ... Three times each year, every male among you must appear before God the Lord ... (Exodus 23:14-17)

In biblical times Shavuot meaning “weeks,” marked the beginning of the new agricultural, or harvest, season.

And you shall make for yourself a Festival of Weeks, the first of the wheat harvest, and the festival of the ingathering, at the turn of the year (Exodus 34:22)

Elsewhere, it's called Chag ha'Katzir, meaning “festival of the harvest:”

And the festival of the harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you will sow in the field, and the festival of the ingathering at the departure of the year, when you gather in [the products of] your labors from the field (Exodus 23:16)

Another name for Shavuot is Yom HaBikurim, meaning “Day of the First Fruits," which comes from the practice of bringing fruits to the Temple on Shavuot to thank God. 

On the day of the first fruits, when you offer up a new meal offering to the Lord, on your festival of Weeks; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall not perform any mundane work. (Numbers 28:26)

We saw the “first fruits” of the work of Jesus when the disciples were empowered at the Feast of Pentecost after the Lord ascended to Heaven. It is now time for the final harvest before the Lord returns. 

The celebration of these feasts is a commandment for those who are Jewish, not for Christians, however, we can learn much from God’s people. Following the Lord’s instruction, the disciples gathered in Jerusalem for this festival after Jesus ascended to Heaven.

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said He, you have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 

When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, will You at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And He said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power. But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the Earth.

And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward Heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into Heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into Heaven. (Acts 1:9-11 AKJV)

Despite the fact that they gathered in Jerusalem, nothing happened right away. The Lord said it would be “not many days.” The feast of Pentecost began after the organization of the apostles had been accomplished. It was on the day of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit first empowered the disciples for the work of the Gospel.

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 to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on 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. (Acts 2:1-4)

The disciples were gathered together in one place, with “one accord.” A unique Greek word, used in 10 of its 12 New Testament occurrences in the Book of Acts, helps us understand the uniqueness of the Christian community. Homothumadon (hom-oth-oo-mad-on’) is a compound of two word meaning to “rush along” and “in unison.” The image is almost musical; a number of notes are sounded which, while different, harmonize in pitch and tone. As the instruments of a great concert under the direction of a concertmaster, so the Holy Spirit blends together the lives of members of Christ's church.

The power of the Holy Spirit came for a purpose. When Jesus was being questioned before the crucifixion, the Apostle Peter fled when he was accused of being aligned with Jesus. Now, empowered by Holy Spirit, the same man spoke boldly:

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said to them, You men of Judaea, and all you that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known to you, and listen to my words: For these are not drunken, as you 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, said God, I will pour out of my Spirit on 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: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:14-20 AKJV)

Each person present heard Peter speak in their native tongue as the apostle quoted the prophet Joel. That Pentecost Feast was the beginning, this 2022 Pentecost will mark the time of the end. 

The Holy Spirit revealed the beginning of the Tribulation with a series of eclipses where the sun will turn into darkness. The sun turned to blood on the Second Passover that occurred this year. The Lord has been revealing His ways in heavenly visits to the Secret Place, and as we have discussed, every blood moon connected with the Hebrew feast of Second Passover has been connected with a sign in the Earth concerning the return of the Lord.    

During this turbulent time, God has provided an answer: 

And it shall be that whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [invoking, adoring, and worshiping the Lord—Christ] shall be saved. (Acts 2:21 AMPC)

Calling on the name of the Lord is much more than simply stating He is the Son of God. It must be done with adoring worship of who He is, the Christ, the Anointed One of God. When we do this, Jesus will save us! Peter followed this statement with the very first altar call:

Now when they heard this they were stung (cut) to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles (special messengers), Brethren, what shall we do?

And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:37-39 AMPC)

We must turn from the world, from sin, and turn toward Jesus, looking for His will in our lives. When we do that, we can be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that we can be forgiven and turn from our sins. This comes with a great gift, the Holy Spirit.

For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to and for you and your children, and to and for all that are far away, [even] to and for as many as the Lord our God invites and bids to come to Himself. (Acts 2:39 AMPC)

Wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit is for every Christian, everywhere! It is important to be willing to repent, to turn from our ways:

And [Peter] solemnly and earnestly witnessed (testified) and admonished (exhorted) with much more continuous speaking and warned (reproved, advised, encouraged) them, saying, “Be saved from this crooked (perverse, wicked, unjust) generation.” Therefore those who accepted and welcomed his message were baptized, and there were added that day about 3,000 souls. (Acts 2:40-41 AMPC)

Just as it was in the first coming of the Lord Jesus, so it is now. The word “wicked” means twisted. The generation upon the Earth is perverse, twisted, and unjust. But Jesus is the answer. The Holy Spirit is our Guide. Pentecost is the season where we celebrate and receive Him. 

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