Pentecost: A Time For Instruction
Pentecost or Shavuot as it is known in Hebrew begins Saturday June 8, 2019 and goes thru Monday June 10. For Jews it is one of the 7 mandated feasts and is still celebrated. It is also known as the feast of weeks because it starts after Passover and runs 7 weeks plus one day, or 50 days. It is also known as the ‘Counting of the Omer’. To Christians it is remembered when the Holy Spirit was poured out on at least of 3,000 believers in an upper room in Jerusalem.
Christians refer to that Pentecost day as when the church was empowered with the Holy Spirit to be witnesses with power for Jesus. There is still much controversy as to what the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit is among Christians. My goal here is not to enter that arena except to say the text speaks for itself. Rather I want to bring a fresh perspective as it relates to God’s intent for the Jews as they celebrated Pentecost after they came out of Egypt.
After Moses led the Children of Israel out of Israel they camped at Sinai. It was here that as they camped Moses went up to receive the law or instruction from Yahweh. Remember that the Children of Israel had been slaves and even though they had the Abrahamic covenant they still lacked instruction as a ‘people’ to walk in the ways of God. God gave the ‘law’ to Moses and other instructions regarding sacrifice and dietary laws, and commands so that they would truly be a Hoy and separate people.
It was in the third month after they left Egypt that they came to Sinai. Hebrew months are 28 days and it was somewhere in the third month which the first day of the first month was on that first Passover.
Exodus 19:5 “Now then if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you will be My own possession among all of the peoples, for all of the earth is mine.” verse 8 “ and the people answered and said all that the Lord has spoken we will do.” NASB
God told them they needed to obey all that He tells them and He would make them a Holy and peculiar people, and their answered was WE will DO it!! We know the track record of the Israelites and it was not always good. Nevertheless this was the time that God gave the instructions for how they were supposed to live and to be a different and set apart people. They were not supposed to look like the Egyptians whom they had been enslaved under, nor were they to resemble the nations that they would encounter as they went to possess the land of promise.
The Eklessia, or Church of Jesus Christ is supposed to look and act different than all of the other peoples of the earth. I am not talking about a denomination of move of God but the true people who are the true followers of Jesus who have accepted Him as Savior and Lord and continue to walk in fellowship with Him and His Word. So many false doctrines and teachings have arisen to make the ‘church’ look no different than the rest of the world. Holiness has become a taboo, or something thought of as legalistic and constrictive whereas true Holiness is devotion to God and His ways and is quite liberating from the evils of this world.
On that first Pentecost where Jewish believers had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Pentecost no one could have predicted what happened that day. Acts 1 gives the background as Jesus instructed His disciples to stay in Jerusalem meaning that they stayed there the whole 50 days following Passover, and Jesus’ death and resurrection. Acts 1:3 tells us that Jesus appeared to them for forty days and then ascended. So for 10 days they had no earthly Jesus and no Holy Spirit poured out. But, their instructions were to wait. So for 10 days they waited.
We are currently as I write at the end of those 10 days of waiting. Do you still expect the Lord to do something fresh at this season? It is for the church, for all believers a time of ‘receiving fresh instruction.” When the Holy Spirit was poured out and they all spoke in various tongues, they were also empowered to be bold witnesses. It is the Holy Spirit that Paul tells us is our helper and teacher. AS a teacher, helper, and counselor The Holy Spirit therefore is our instructor. Yes, as a people we have the Word of God.
As individuals we constantly need fresh instruction for our lives and ministry, and all that we do for the Kingdom of God. It is the Holy Spirit that guides us just as God’s law written on tablets is now written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Also, when God came down to Sinai He thundered and there was lightning and below His feet (Exodus 19) it appeared as sapphire. In other words it was like the throne room came down. So it was when the Holy Spirit showed up on that first Pentecost. Power, demonstations of signs and wonders, boldly proclaiming the Word of God are just some results of what happened that day.
Today in many churches there is noise and confusion and chaos, and yet so many say that the Holy Spirit showed up. If it is the Holy Spirit there will be order and people will prophesy, and the gifts will flow, but there will be hearts rendered in the presence of God. We have grown so accustomed to a prophetic word, ot the ‘gifts’ moving that we have become cold and complacent, as if we are in some sort of competition. I am certain that there was no competition in the early church.
We need to come together with an anticipation that God through the person of the Holy Spirit will show up and instruct someone or all of us through the Holy Spirit. Yes, every Sunday, or every day, should be a Pentecost experience. This Pentecost Sunday though, should be even more special. It is not just to say Oh wow! that was good!, or did you feel His presence? Rather we should all say wow God showed up and we were changed and He instructed us for our various needs.
Let us pray together that this Pentecost will be new and fresh and we will not just focus on what He can do for me, but rather what does He want to say to the body at large. Maybe He wants to speak to you about areas we need to repent of or to encourage us. Then again maybe He wants to use us in a gift that we have never operated in. Be open and ready just as Jesus instructed His disciples, ‘wait on the Holy Spirit.!”