The day of Pentecost was the day that the promise had finally come upon the disciples of Christ taking them from merely being followers and believers to now becoming the literal living church of Jesus Christ.
I don’t want us to think that this was some random event that took place because it was something on God’s perfect prophetic calendar.
The events of Pentecost which essentially means 50 in Greek take place 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits
For the whole calendar with the 7 feasts of the LORD you can read through Leviticus 23 to see how they fall throughout the year. It is an important thing to look at because we also see a picture of what has been fulfilled in Christ and what we are waiting for. These feasts of the Lord are incredibly important for us to look at and have a basic understanding of.
These things are written as being feasts and holy convocations.
Feasts (Mo’ed) - Appointed times on God’s - prophetic calendar
Convocations (miqra) - A calling together, sacred assembly - on God’s prophetic calendar.
The first 4 (Spring) feasts are linked together followed by a span of time, then the last 3 (Fall) feasts take place which are linked together. The first 4 feasts have been fulfilled by the first coming of Jesus Christ. We are of course right now experiencing that span of time between what Christ fulfilled in His first coming and what He will yet fulfill in His second coming. In fact this very feast of Pentecost we see this morning in Acts 2 is what kick starts the time period between what has been fulfilled and the next prophetic event called the rapture of the church.
Let’s do a brief overview of the calender of events listed in Leviticus 23 for the sake of showing the prophetic significance of the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
In verses 4-5 we see Passover - This feast was to celebrate and remind the Jews of how faithful and powerful God was in rescuing them from Egypt. Egypt in the Bible speaks of oppression, slavery, and that referring to the old life.
On the first Passover the Jews killed a lamb and placed its blood on their doorposts. (bloody cross) This was the only way that the Israelites could be saved from death as the Lord was going to pass through the land and bring death upon all the firstborn in the land who did not have the blood of the lamb covering their doorposts. But for those who killed the lamb and placed the blood upon their doorposts the Lord would pass over their homes and their firstborn would be spared, thus it is called the Passover. Exodus 12.
Jesus Christ was the lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world and as such is called by Paul to be our Passover Lamb
7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Just as God’s people had to have the blood of the Passover lamb covering their homes (dwelling places) so we need to be covered by the blood of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world to take away our sins and rescue us from death and hell.
Then in verses 6-8 we see The Feast of Unleavened Bread - A weeklong Feast that directly followed Passover where the Jews were to eat only unleavened bread.
Leaven in the scripture speaks of sin, so this feast speaks of God’s people being pure and set apart unto Him. Interesting that a time of declaring purity and separation unto God immediately follows Passover.
Jesus was unleavened as in without sin. He was buried in the tomb after paying for the sin of the world but was raised up on the 3rd day.
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
Then in verses 9-14 we have the Feast of Firstfruits - This Feast was held on the day after the Sabbath (on the first day of the week) that followed Passover. This feast was about waiving or dedicating the firstfruits which would most likely be barley to the Lord with an anticipation that God would bless the crops. The importance of recognizing Who it was that provided and would continue to sustain and provide.
Of course this is when Jesus is resurrected. Jesus is the firstfruits or the firstborn from the dead because of the resurrection…
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Then in Leviticus 23:15-21 we have the feast we see in our text this morning Pentecost (Greek for 50) AKA Feast of Weeks - This occurs 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits. It is after the wheat harvest and the reason why the Jews now were to bring the new grain offering. Now that the Lord has blessed the crops and provided for His people, it is an appropriate time for the the people to waive before the Lord what He has provided. Also worth noting is that these are leavened loaves of bread, not unleavened. We will get into that later.
The first Pentecost was in Exodus 19 with Moses bringing the children of Israel out to meet God on Mount Sinai. As Moses is up on Mount Sinai getting the law the people grew impatient and asked Aaron to make them a god to follow so he took their golden rings and made the golden calf and 3000 people died as a result. Yet here on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 we will see the result of the Holy Spirit falling is that 3000 people are saved.
Pentecost is when the birth of the church took place. Don’t forget it is this Feast where the loaves are waived as the time of harvest takes place. The role of the church is to go out and bring in the harvest of God. Now remember that we see the leavened bread specifically being mentioned in the waive offering? That is because the leavened bread is a picture of the Gentiles being brought into the faith and family of God. This is the time when God brings us Gentiles into His church!
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
[[Then in verse 22 of Leviticus 23 we have a a small gap of time in between the first 4 feasts and the last 3, there is a little note about being generous to the poor and the strangers in the land. Something God first pointed out in Leviticus 19, but now we have some context. Since it is God who blesses and provides for His people who would have nothing outside of His grace, likewise the people should also be gracious and bless others around them who are in need by letting the gleanings remain for those in need.
Now interestingly enough the gap of time that takes place between the first 4 and last 3 feats is about 4 months, which just so happens to be the time of harvest in the land of Israel. We are living today in that time of harvest, which is why Jesus command us…
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
And we are going to be about this business of praying for more workers and being workers reaching the lost for Christ with the gospel until what Paul calls the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled…
25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
The completion of this time is when the last Gentile that God has called or numbered gets saved as Paul talks about in Romans 11. It is my belief that when that moment takes place we will experience the rapture of the church that the Feast of Trumpets shows (Rosh Hashanah) which begins the final 3 feasts -This feast was celebrated by blowing the trumpets to gather all the people to come together for a holy convocation followed by the 7 year tribulation and finally the 2nd Coming of Christ.]]
The word spirit as in Holy Spirit is also the same word for wind or breath or to blow in the Hebrew and the Greek.
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Examples of Ruach/Pnuema being used as breath/wind/Spirit
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
5 Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
You see the mighty rushing wind is a great picture of the breath of God as He sent the Holy Spirit to not just empower the church to be witnesses unto Jesus Christ but even more to bring this group of people from merely a scared group of believers in Jesus to the living, breathing, active church, the very ambassadors of the kingdom of God on earth!
But notice that it was divided tongues as of fire.
Fire is also used in Scripture to speak of a purifying effect like the gold in the refiners fire.
So the fact that the divided tongues were like fire speaks also of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian to bring about spiritual purity in us since we are truly God’s children, paid for with the blood of His Son Jesus Christ and now baptized and filled with His Holy Spirit so that we can live as citizens of His kingdom on earth in our roll of carrying out the calling of our lives which is the work of the Great Commission.
Rested on them - Before this great moment in history the Holy Spirit would only come upon a person for a particular work or moment, but now you and I have Him living inside us forever!
The church would be powerless, scared, and dead – without life to fulfill the calling which is to be witnesses to Christ Jesus
Why are they speaking in other tongues?
Well as we will see in verses 5-13 they are bearing witness to all the people who were there for the mandatory feast – bearing witness to Christ!
This is not about them speaking a language no one understands in order to puff them up or prove they are “Spirit Filled” but to glorify Christ by speaking the wonderful works of God!
In a sense this was truly the beginning of the fulfillment of the Great Commission as Jews from all over the world heard the gospel of Jesus Christ preached.
Why we need the Holy Spirit
The conditions of a spiritual life
The way to stay in close fellowship with God in all the changing seasons of life
Spiritual victory in a spiritual battle
Clear insight and understanding of our surroundings- not everything is what it appears in the physical realm
The enemy is real, purely evil, on the attack, desiring our destruction always, and wants to keep all lost people away from Christ and thus headed for eternal death in hell.
Our purity before God in a right and intimate relationship before Him through the blood of Christ can only be lived out if we are in fact baptized with and continually walking in the power/influence/covering of the Holy Spirit.