“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 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. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4
The Church was born in the most difficult of circumstances. The early believers of the Lord Jesus Christ have to come against the great religious and political forces of their time. The first Christians, being purely Jews had to endure tremendous persecution among their countrymen for coming out of their Judaism, the Jewish faith based on the Old Testament Laws which, in reality, were foreshadows of the true Messiah which they rejected, the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 26:16; Acts 4: 11-12; I Pet 2: 4-6). The ruling political power of their time was the great Roman Empire who have subjugated and oppressed Israel and was violently hostile against the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Despite of all these tremendous odds, the believers multiplied vigorously and the word of the Lord, the gospel went from Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8; 2: 41-47; 17: 6). What was the key to the early Church’s great success? Biblical history tells us the key: The outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon God’s redeemed people on the Day of Pentecost!
This week, we celebrate one of the important Feasts of the Lord: The Feast of Pentecost (Exo 23: 16; Lev 23: 15-16). Today, the whole Christian world celebrates Pentecost Sunday! The Lord Jesus Himself, appearing to His disciples after His resurrection, promised the coming of this special day of the Holy Spirit outpouring when he instructed His faithful followers (Acts 1: 5,8). It was exactly 50 days after the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion and death that the Holy Spirit came in power filling the 120 remnants of the Lord’s followers with His power manifested in cloven tongues of fire (Acts 2: 1-4). It was the birth of the glorious church of the Lord Jesus Christ! The Apostle Peter, explaining to the people in Jerusalem what they were witnessing declared that this phenomenon was what the prophet Joel declared in Joel 2: 28-29. The church grew in power from the Pentecost experience in that Upper Room and the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.
It is important to remember that the First Pentecost that happened in Israel was marked by the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, fifty days after their first Passover celebration the night before they came out of Egypt. The Second Pentecost came 50 days after the Lord Jesus, the Passover Lamb, offered His life on the cross for the redemption of all mankind. Today, we look forward to the third and final Pentecost when God will pour out His Spirit once again in an unlimited measure to all flesh of every nation, tribe and tongue! This is final Pentecost, the manifestation of the power of the “Age to Come” that will mark the freedom of those whom God will redeem from the power of Sin and death from the four corners of the earth! Indeed, God will have a people for Himself (Rev 7:9) and the Lord Jesus Christ will have His Bride (Rev 19:7).
Also published on Eagle Christian, Issue No. 388 on May 19, 2013