What does the word Pentecost mean? Where comes the word Pentecost from? Answer is that the Greek word is Petekoste what means fiftieth! What kind of feast was Pentecost? To answer this we have to go back to the Old Testament. We read in Leviticus 23:15-17 and specific in verse 16: “and the feast of harvest, the first fruits of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of in gathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labors out of the field” Pentecost was the second of three great annual festivals Israel had in the past. Also in Numbers 28:26-31, Deuteronomy 16:9-12 we read about this feast! Pentecost was a Jewish feast!
Pentecost, this festival is called: 1 the feast of weeks because it was celebrated seven complete weeks or fifty days after the Passover Exodus 24:22, 2 the feast of harvest Exodus 23:16 because it concluded the harvest of the later grains. 3 The day of first fruits Numbers 28:26 because the first loaves made from the new grain was then offered on the altar Leviticus 23:17. In essential Pentecost was linked to the Passover. All this concluded we can say that Pentecost was one of the 3 great festivals of Israel. It was a pure Jewish feast.
The 3 annual Jewish festivals were:
1 Passover: Numbers 28:26, Leviticus 23:5, 6: Remembrance and deliverance from Israel out of Egypt.
2 Pentecost: 50 days or 7 weeks after Passover Exodus 34:26.
3 Feast of the Tabernacles: Leviticus 23:34: Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord.
Now comes the question what do we know more about Pentecost only that it was a Jewish feast? We go back to Acts 2. We know in the Christian tradition we have every year Pentecost and this is a feast day. In the Netherlands we have 2 feast days! A lot of people don’t know what Pentecost means. The Professing church here in the Netherlands learns and tells us the story of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 and that the beginning of the Church, the body of Christ begins in Acts 2. Now comes the question: is Pentecost the beginning of the body of Christ, the beginning of the Church? To answer this question first we have to know for sure that on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 it was the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
Now is the question what happened on Pentecost in Jerusalem in Acts 2? Here are some facts:
First: the Holy Spirit was poured out on all the 12 apostles. This was promised through the Lord Jesus Christ. We read in Acts 1:5: “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence”And in Matthew 3: 11 we read that Christ will be the Baptizer that He baptizes the people with the Holy Spirit. We see that the people here on the day of Pentecost who was baptized with the Holy Spirit under control were with the Holy Spirit. They immediately begin to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. And in Acts 2:8: how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? They began to speak with strange tongues to speak and they had never spoken these tongues, different languages. It was not learned! For example if we want to speak another language or tongue we have to learn this on school and this took 2 or 3 years and it took more years to speak or understand it well!
Second: What we here read in Acts 2 is fulfilling of the prophecy of Joel. We can read this in Acts 2: 16-20. Let read it very carefully! These are the last days of Israel just before the Lord will come back to earth and the Kingdom will come on earth!
Third: Very important to know is that on this Pentecost there were only Jewish people or people who became Israelites and were together in Jerusalem for the feast. To prove this we can read: Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem Acts 2:14. In verse 22 we read Ye men of Israel hear these words…! Gentiles were not in Jerusalem during the days of Pentecost in Acts 2! As Gentiles we were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without Christ in the world” Ephesians 2:12. However Gentiles were not in the picture!
Fourth: Peter preached here at Pentecost not the glory of the cross but the cross for shame to the Israelites. Acts 2:22, 23: Ye men of Israel here these words Jesus of Nazareth a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs which God did by Him in the midst of you as ye yourselves also know Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” And in verse 36……Whom (Christ) ye have crucified! It wasn’t the glory of the cross what Peter preached there on Pentecost! The glory of the cross that through shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ forgiveness of sins was. This was not made known!
Fifth: Now if they heard this all they were pricked in their heart. There was shame with them and they asked Peter and the rest: Men and brethren: What shall we do (to be saved)? And Peter answered: Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Peter didn’t say: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved! Why not? Answer: it was not revealed to men, God didn’t reveal it to men yet!
In the Bible three times we can read how a person can be saved for eternity and every time there is a different answer.
1 Luke 18:18-22 we read “And a certain ruler asked Him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life. And Jesus said unto him, …………….sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me!
2 Acts 2:37-38: Men and brethren, what shall we do? Answer: Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!
3 Acts 16:30-31: Sirs, what must I do to be saved the jailor asked Paul and Silas. Answer: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house!
Now we are going to the characteristics of the church of Jerusalem. What are the characteristics of the church of Jerusalem? Are the characteristics the same as the body of Christ today? First we have to see it in Acts 2:42-47: They continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, breaking of the bread, praying, many wonders and sings were done by the apostles, they were altogether and had all things common!! They sold their possessions and goods and parted them to all men, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, breaking bread from house to house, praising God and having favor with all the people. May I ask you something: do you see this today happen in the body of Christ, the Church. Does this still work today? Answer is no! Question why not? Why doesn’t work God today not the same as the days in early Acts?
To answer this we have to go back to early Acts. What happened after Pentecost? We read that a lot of people were added to the church at Jerusalem by God. In Acts 4 till the end of Acts 8 the leaders of Israel and a lot of people didn’t want to listen and to believe the gospel of the Kingdom. They began to persecute the Apostles and in Acts 7 they stoned Stephen. Israel rejected the Holy Ghost of God; it was the sin against the Holy Ghost. In I Samuel 8: 7: Israel rejected God the Father that He should not reign over them as King! In Acts 2: 36 we can read: Israel crucified God the Son, both Lord and Christ. So they rejected with the whole world the Lord Jesus Christ and in Acts 7 they rejected the Holy Spirit with the stoning of Stephen. Romans 11:11: I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
So God stopped His plan with Israel for a time (read Romans 11:25) and began a new Dispensation, the dispensation of grace (administration of God )Ephesians 3:1-3 and choose His bitterest enemy on earth , the leader of Israel's rebellion against Him, Saul of Tarsus or Paul, to be the apostle of the Gentiles and bring the new gospel, the gospel of the grace of God Acts 20:24. He saved Paul on the way to Damascus by His grace! Read it in your own Bible in Acts 9, Acts 22 and Acts 26! He, Paul, became thus the apostle of the Gentiles with the gospel of God’s grace! Acts 9:15,16, Romans 11:13, Romans 15:16! Paul was the first man in the body of Christ, the Church which is of Jews and Gentiles together in one Body Ephesians 2:13-22, I Timothy 1: 11-16 (chief here in verse 15 is the first one).
Now that we know as believers that we live under the dispensation of God’s grace we have to ask how God works today, how He handle with people now today and how His Holy Spirit works? Second what are the characteristics of the Church, the body of Christ?
How Gods Spirit works today and what He does?
1 The Holy Spirit baptizes persons in the Body of Christ which is the Church. This we can read in I Corinthians 12:13. In Acts 2 on Pentecost Christ was the Baptizer and now it is the Spirit of God who baptizes people in the Body of Christ on the moment somebody accept the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her Savior!
2 Every believer in Christ is sealed with the Holy Spirit of God on the moment he or she accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior! Ephesians 1:13,14.
3 The Holy Spirit is not upon the believer today as on Pentecost on the believers there in Jerusalem. We as believers in Christ are not under control of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives in us and we have to be filled with the Spirit every day! I Corinthians 2:12. We live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit Galatians 5:25 and read also Ephesians 5:18: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit!
The characteristics of the Body of Christ, the CHURCH today!
1 The body of Christ, The Church began with the repentance of the apostle Paul in Acts 9:1-31.
2 The body of Christ contains Jews and Gentiles in ONE BODY. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile today for God Ephesians 2:16-18. The body of Christ has many members and Christ is the Head of the body! Ephesians 4:22-24.
3 By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone someone is saved without works (his own works) Ephesians 2:8,9. It is the redemptive work of God in Christ for us done!
4 The Holy Spirit baptizes us into the body of Christ I Corinthians 12:13. We as members are one with Christ. Gods Spirit lives in us! We as believers are a temple of the Spirit of God!
5 The body of Christ, the Church, is an organism, not an organization and contains only believers!
Now we come to the question what the apostle Paul preached to us?
The apostle Paul preached the glory of the cross 1 Corinthians 1:17 What does this contain or hold?
A The Law is nailed on the cross on Golgotha, we read Colossians 2:14.
B Jew and Gentile in ONE BODY, the body of Christ, read Ephesians 2:15-16.
C We as believers are crucified with Christ and Christ lives in us, read Galatians 2:20.
D Satan and his powers are defeated on the cross. Colossians 2:15: And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it!
The apostle Paul was not send to baptize with water for the remission of sins! I Corinthians 1:17. Why not, he himself was also baptized? The reason for this is that our sins are forgiven by the blood of Christ on Calvary Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:14. We as believers in Christ have the forgiveness of sins according to God’s riches grace! He, God, sees us in His Son Jesus Christ as sinless. You and me are new men in Him and complete in Him Colossians 2:10!
What a wonderful God and Savior we have that He gave His own Son Jesus Christ to die our death on the cross, read Philippians 2:5-8, I Corinthians 15:3,4, and stood up from the grave to give us eternal life, new life in Him!