Is Pentecost Still Relevant Today?
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Pentecost is fifty days after Passover.
What is significant about that and why would Pentecost be relevant to a believer in 2018? Let’s take a bit of a historical and biblical review and see what we discover.
Pentecost is the Greek word for the Hebrew festival Hag Ha Shavuot (6th of Sivan) or The Feast of Weeks.
The day after the Sabbath of Unleavened Bread (Sunday), Jewish families were to begin counting seven Sabbaths or forty-nine days.
The day after, or on the fiftieth day, they were to celebrate The Feast of Weeks.
The Greek word pentekoste simply means fifty.
Is Pentecost still relevant today?
The original Passover was Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery through ten plagues God sent upon Egypt.
The final plague was the death of the first born male child in every family, including Pharaoh.
The Jewish families were instructed to select and butcher a one year old lamb that was without blemish; catch the blood of the lamb in a basin; paint the top and both sides of the door post of their house with the blood; when the angel of death came through the land of Egypt he would pass over that home.
Pharaoh released the Jewish families from slavery that night. God instructed them to leave hastily and to bake their bread without using leaven.
God instituted the Feast of Passover and unleavened bread in memory that night to be celebrated forever (Leviticus 23:1-22).
Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost are two of the three compulsory festivals for every Jewish man to attend in Jerusalem.
- Historical Jewish tradition celebrates Pentecost as the time Moses received the Ten Commandments and the other laws on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1).
- Jewish tradition also celebrates Pentecost as the time of King David’s death (6th of Sivan).
- Jewish tradition also celebrates Pentecost (6th of Sivan) as the birth day of Enoch and also the day he was translated from the earth.
What does the Feast of Pentecost proclaim prophetically?
Understand the prophetic significance of Pentecost requires a brief look at the prophetic meaning of the other six Hebrew festivals.
1. The spring festivals, Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits were connected with only a single day separating them.
Unleavened Bread begins the night after Passover and the celebration of First Fruits the day after Unleavened Bread.
These three festivals proclaim the first coming of Jesus Christ.
- He was crucified on Passover
- He laid in the grave on Sabbath of Unleavened Bread.
- His resurrection and leading the righteous ones out of Abraham’s bosom is called “first fruits” by the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 15:20).
2. The three fall festivals, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles all proclaim the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The feast of trumpets prophetically declares “For the Lord, Himself, shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1Thessalonians 4:16 NKJV).
The Day of Atonement declares prophetically the day when every man’s name is sealed in the Book of Life or the Book of Death; that is the Great White Throne judgment of God (Revelation 20:11-15).
The festival of Tabernacles celebrates the temporary shelters the Jewish families lived in on their way to the Promised Land.
It proclaims that every born again believer is living in a temporary house (human body) on our way to the Promised Land, the place the Lord has prepared for us, and that He will come again and take us to our eternal dwelling (John 14:1-3; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10).
3. Between the spring festivals and the fall festivals is the Feast of Pentecost, celebrating the summer harvest.
The entire Book of Ruth is about the Feast of Pentecost.
The near kinsman, the kinsman redeemer, Boaz, took a Gentile bride and redeemed the land and lineage of his Jewish family.
The fiftieth day after Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, our Near Kinsman, the Kinsman Redeemer Jesus Christ, took a bride that was both Gentile and Jew.
Acts 15 gives a detail record of the Apostles embracing the Gentiles in the church.
Full understanding of what took place on Pentecost requires a careful look at the instructions Jesus gave the Apostles preparing them for that day.
Luke 24:36-53 records His words.
The disciples had gathered after hearing reports of Jesus’ resurrection, suddenly He was standing in the room with them. The disciples were shocked and terrified.
Jesus spoke first. “Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your hearts?” Then He showed them his hands and his feet. “It is I, Myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (v 38-40).
The disciples were still having difficulty believing, so Jesus asked if they had any food.
They gave him some boiled fish and honeycomb and Jesus ate. Then He began to instruct them regarding the events of the last three day.
“These are the words which I spoke to you while still with you, that all things must be fulfilled with were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning me” (v.44). Then Jesus “opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (v.45).
The disciples did not understand the events that had taken place. They could not see how they matched God’s prophetic Word.
Jesus opened their spiritual eyes and gave them the spirit of wisdom and revelation.
This is exactly what the Apostle Paul prayed for the disciples at Ephesus (Ephesians 1:15-21).
There are many believers today who do not understand how God is working.
They cannot see how the church is supposed to be doing the same works Jesus Christ did in the New Testament and even greater works (John 14:12).
They need Jesus to give them a spirit of wisdom and to open the eyes of their understanding.
After opening their understanding Jesus revealed how His suffering, crucifixion, burial and resurrection were necessary for the redemption of mankind and that repentance and remission of sin must be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Jesus Christ was commissioning them to be the first Apostles and the first preachers of the Gospel to carry the message to the world. Then Jesus gave them a stunning command!
“Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (v. 49).
They were absolutely not to go and doing anything until they had received the promise given by His Father.
What was that promise?
Luke explained in his companion writing, Acts 1:4-5, 8.
“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth’” (NKJV).
The Promise of the Father was the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the divine power He would bring into their life.
It is not insignificant that Jesus did not begin His public ministry until He had been baptized in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:13-17).
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19 NKJV).
Is Pentecost still relevant today?
It is not only the birth of the church it is the power source by which the church completes the assignment given by the Head of the Church.
On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given without measure for the first time in human history, fulfilling the Prophesy given by Joel.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit gave the Apostles and the New Testament Church the power to preach and to confirm the Word of God with signs and wonders.
That has not changed.
It is not enough for the 21 century church to have the finest musicians, the latest technology, and great communicators. She must have the power of the Holy Spirit!
- Only the Holy Spirit brings the “washing of regeneration.”
- Only the Holy Spirit can break strongholds of darkness in people’s lives and drive out demonic forces.
- Only the Holy Spirit can heal the broken-hearted and give sight to the blind.
Without Pentecost, the church may gather large crowds in record numbers and broadcast award winning music and movies.
But, she is powerless to bring life transformation to broken human lives.
The church of the 21 century must obey the Lord and tarry in His presence until she receives the Promise of the Father and is endued with power from on high.