Pentecost

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4)

God gave the Feast of Weeks, a.k.a. Shavu’ot, (Leviticus 23:15-22) as the fourth of the Feasts of the Lord and the last of the spring feasts. God gave seven feasts to be observed as holy (i.e., set apart, consecrated, dedicated) convocations where all males over the age of 20 were required to attend. Later in their history, the Jews added Purim to celebrate their divine preservation in Babylon/Persia (Esther 9:20-32) and Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, to celebrate the rededication of the Temple after Antiochus IV Epiphanes desecrated it in 165 B.C. These last two are rabbinical festivals and do not bear the same significance as the Feasts of the Lord. The Lord’s feasts not only have religious significance, but they are prophetic of the coming Messiah. Jesus fulfilled the four spring feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost) at His first coming; the fall feasts (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles) He will fulfill at His second coming.

Pentecost, a.k.a. Feast of Weeks, a.k.a. Shavu’ot, came 50 days after the Feast of First Fruits (Leviticus 23:16). At First Fruits, the devotee would bring some of the sprouts of the barley crop to the priest as a thank (wave) offering to God for the promise of bountiful harvest. Jesus fulfilled this feast when He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20). Forty days later (Acts 1:3), Jesus ascended to heaven, but before He did, He instructed His disciples (not just the apostles), “that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.  For John [the Baptist] truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1:4-5, emphasis mine). Pentecost came ten days later. This was the barley harvest celebration. Prophetically, this feast looked forward to the birth of the Church.

On Pentecost, Luke records that the disciples, about 120 in number (Acts 1:15), were gathered together “with one accord” (Acts 2:1), “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 unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:2-3, emphasis mine). This occasion reminds us of a similar manifestation in the Old Testament. When the children of Israel erected the tabernacle in the wilderness, “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34, emphasis mine). Similarly, at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, “Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house. (2 Chronicles 7:1-2, emphasis mine).

The tongues of fire resting upon each of the disciples at Pentecost proclaimed that no longer would the Spirit of God be confined to a manmade structure, but in a temple created by God. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16, emphasis mine). At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit took up residence in the heart of every believer, and thus the Church of God (not the denomination that takes that name) was born.

This year, Pentecost falls on May 31, 2017. The year 2017 is significant to many who study end-times prophecy for a number of reasons, which I cannot go into detail at this time. One of these is that 2017 is a Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:8-13). Briefly, in 1917, the Balfour Declaration returned the land of Israel back to the Jews. Fifty years later, 1967, the Israelis recaptured their ancient capitol of Jerusalem. Since Jubilee is the time when all property reverts to its original owner, perhaps this year the Temple Mount will be returned to its rightful owners, the Jews.  This is the hope among many faithful Jews. All the instruments for the Temple are ready and even the priests are ready to take up their duties. The only thing missing is the Temple and the land on which the Temple is to be built. Perhaps this Jubilee will be the year that takes place.

There is also much talk about the Revelation 12 sign. Supposedly, on September 23, 2017 the constellation Virgo will appear “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1). That Virgo appears clothed with the sun and the moon at its feet is an annual occurrence.  However, this year the constellation Leo will be accompanied by a conjunction of three planets, Mercury, Mars and Venus. Together with the nine major stars in Leo’s constellation, this grouping will form a crown of 12 stars above Virgo’s head. Supposedly, this particular configuration of heavenly objects has never before been observed, and it would only come about once every 7,000 years. In addition, Jupiter, the King Planet, entered Virgo’s “womb” on December 16, 2016, and will remain there 40 weeks, the normal length of human gestation. Then on September 23, 2017 (Feast of Trumpets), it is due to exit Virgo from between her feet (Revelation 12:5). Many prophecy teachers, while maintaining that they are not “date setting,” see this as a “possible” time for the Rapture of the Church. Other prophecy teachers see the Revelation 12 sign as merely analogous to Israel (the woman) giving birth to Jesus and His being taken up unto heaven.  Those that argue for the Rapture sign rightly point out that prophecies in the Bible often carry more than one meaning. Therefore, they suggest that the birth of this “man child” is the “body” of Christ, i.e. the Church, which is “caught up” (Greek: harpazō) or raptured up to heaven.

However, some suggest that Pentecost 2017 is also a good candidate for the Rapture. They conclude that since Jesus ascended ten days before Pentecost, He did not truly fulfill that feast, and that the “harvest” is yet ahead. Maybe so. Whether the Rapture takes place this year on May 31 (Pentecost), September 23 (Feast of Trumpets), or some other time, Jesus admonished us, “Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:14). The Apostle Paul informs us of a special reward that awaits those who anxiously look for Jesus’ return. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8, emphasis mine). “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

6 Comments

Filed under Christianity, End Times, Religion, Second Coming of Christ

6 responses to “Pentecost

  1. Great post! As you know, the book of Acts had no ending.. I believe it is a strong message.. I was going to ask what you thought of the Revelation 12 sign in the heavens, and now I know..

    God Bless

    • Thank you for your comment, Mary Ann. I am so ready for the Rapture, however, at the same time I am very concerned about loved ones who reject Christ and are unwilling to listen to my pleadings. I am afraid that they will have to live through the Tribulation, but I hope they have learned enough from my attempts to “teach” them that they will recognize what is going on and turn to Christ at that time even though they will suffer for that choice.

      On the Revelation 12 sign, m any who reject the “signs” in the sun, moon and stars hold rigidly to Jesus’ words that “no man knows the day or the hour” of His coming. Those who defend the “signs” point to the fact that the Feast of Trumpets is known as the feast that “no man knows the day or the hour,” which is why it is observed over two days until they can reckon with certainty the appearance of the new moon, which signals the beginning of the new year – Rosh Hashannah. Personally, I believe the Lord will rapture His Church on the Feast of Trumpets. It makes logical sense to me, but I will not be dogmatic about it. I am willing to accept that the Lord may come for us at any time.

      I found your comment about the Book of Acts very interesting. My pastor has us reading The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken, and we will watch the movie together as a congregation on June 11. What I have learned from the reading is that God is still working like He did in the Book of Acts where believers are suffering persecution. I highly recommend the book for all Christians, especially us “spoiled” Christians living in the USA, to encourage us to be bold in our witness. We face nothing compared to what our persecuted brothers and sisters face around the world.

      Again, thank you for your comments.

      • I agree Ernie, knowing the Rapture can be at any moment, and thinking of the unsaved is a burden in our heart..
        Some are lead to salvation by a total stranger.. after years of rejecting the pleading of their family.
        I will find the book by Nick Ripken, thank you for the info.. It is so true in America we have Bibles collecting dust, freedom to share the Gospel with a stranger, and a church in every city, not underground.. My heart grieves for those who hunger for a Bible, and are persecuted for their faith.. In country’s were Bibles must be smuggled in.. they write scripture by hand, as it is read by phone..
        God Bless

  2. Lightheartedly speaking: “Then again, all of this business concerning September 23rd and the constellation Virgo could mean nothing at all in terms of any monumental events … whether it be the “man child”, the “rapture” or any other theological/prophetic concept presented by many awaiting the Lord’s return”. Personally speaking, I’m going to enjoy September 23rd (as I do any other evening) as just another beautiful night under the Lord’s beautiful, starry skies. Blessings! 🙂

    • You won’t see anything in the sky on September 23. Since Virgo will be “clothed with the sun,” the sun will outshine the constellation. But I agree, it may turn out to be nothing at all. However, Jesus told us to watch; that’s what I’m doing. 😉

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